Chinese doctors win appreciation in pandemic fight in Laos
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On March 29, a group of experienced medical experts from China went to Laos with medical supplies worth 4.17 million yuan ($590,000) to help Laos with the prevention and control of COVID-19.


(Photos: Chinese Times)

During the two weeks in Laos, the medical experts worked day and night. They raced against time to pay field visits in the hot sun and hold meetings with Lao staff to discuss work plans. The experts conducted 15 trips to six designated hospitals for cases of COVID-19 in three provinces — Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Champasak — including three visits to the treatment area of confirmed cases. They also held 20 special training programs for administrative staff, medical staff and personnel for the prevention and control of the pandemic in 18 provinces and municipalities.


Due to limited time and heavy workload, the experts were divided into several groups to do different tasks simultaneously every day to improve their work efficiency. They had minimized their time for eating and rest to race against time.


On April 7, Shi Tongchuan and Sun Yanhong, two members of the expert group, were not feeling well due to airsickness on their way to Luang Prabang. However, after getting off the plane, with no time to rest, they immediately went with other group members to the general office of the provincial government to hold a meeting with the representatives of the health departments of several provinces in Laos to discuss the work on pandemic prevention.


At midnight, the experts were still at the meeting, summarizing their work progress and making work plans for the next day. The next day, they got up early in the morning and did their work energetically.


At 150 Friendship Hospital, a designated hospital for COVID-19 in Laos, Chinese medical experts inspected the facilities and measures fighting the pandemic. They paid attention to every detail, such as what should be placed in each corner. The Lao medical staff carefully noted their words to carry out improvements. The experts paid a second visit to the hospital to check on progress.


In communications with the hospital, the expert group always stressed that the safety of the medical staff must be given priority. “They know that we have always put their safety first, so they trust us and follow our advice,” said Geng Jiawei, a member of the expert group.


The training courses held in various regions in Laos presented a lively atmosphere. At the courses, the Lao staff took detailed notes. When Chinese experts demonstrated how to wear and take off the protective suits, the Lao staff would record the whole process with their mobile phones. After the course, everyone asked questions actively.


The experts were concerned about the diagnosis and treatment of patients with confirmed cases. They looked into the patients’ conditions and guided the medical staff through the treatment. To carry out the treatment better, the experts entered the wards for patients with confirmed cases three times to check their conditions.


When checking a patient’s condition in the ward, Yang Xiaohua, a Chinese expert was asked by the patient, “Are you from China?” He immediately said yes.


“He couldn’t see what we look like since we were wearing protective suits. And we didn’t care about whether he knew our names or not. When he learned that we were doctors from China, he gave us a thumbs-up gesture, which deeply moved us. Viruses knows no borders. Doctors know no borders. Where there is a pandemic, there is the place for us to fight,” said Yang.


As the only expert in traditional Chinese medicine in this group, Du Yibin introduced to the Lao doctors the role of TCM in the prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus, and gave them instructions on the usage and dosage of some Chinese medicines. TCM became part of the cure for the COVID-19 in Laos.


Though busy, the experts were concerned about overseas Chinese in Laos. They visited Chinese enterprises, and overseas Chinese students in Laos. They gave the overseas Chinese packages of medical supplies, gave special lectures and offered guidance and consultations on the prevention and control of the pandemic.


“During this period of close cooperation, we have developed a good friendship with our Lao counterparts. After returning home, we will continue to pay attention to the pandemic situation in Laos, and exchange with them and offer help to them on the internet,” said Liu Xiaoqiang, a member of the expert group, before going back to China.


The all-out efforts made by the Chinese experts in the fight against the pandemic in Laos have won appreciation and love from the Lao people. In the past 14 days, the words that Chinese doctors most frequently heard were “thank you,” in the health departments, hospitals, isolation areas and laboratories.


Maneechan Thongsana, director of the infection department in 150 Friendship Hospital, expressed gratitude to the Chinese experts when they arrived at the hospital on April 11. “The Chinese medical experts have not only brought Chinese experience, medicine and equipment, but also hope and love. Thanks to the them for passing on their wisdom to us. We have benefited a lot from their great help,” she said.


“When I saw the Chinese medical experts entered the isolation ward to encourage patients, I was deeply moved. Thank you for all the contributions you made for us. I look forward to our next gathering after we win the fight against the pandemic,” said a doctor who had also served as a translator for the Chinese experts.

(Original story by Chinese Times; Compiled by Cao Mengqi)