By Dr. DAI Dechun, Dr. QIAO Zhiming, Captain, the 16th Chinese Medical Brigade
TIME stops for no one, and the seasons keep changing. On October 1, 2020, as COVID-19 was still ravaging the world, the 16th Chinese Medical Brigade rose to the challenge and arrived in Guyana to carry out a one-year medical aid tenure, fulfilling the glorious mission entrusted by Chinese government.
Over the past year, Chinese Medical Brigade has withstood the wind and rain. As messengers of civil medical diplomacy, they have become guardians of health and life with exquisite medical skills and warm services, recognized by the people and government of Guyana.
On the occasion of parting, Dr. Fawcett Jeffrey, Director of Medical and Professional Services of Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), expressed his heartfelt thanks and best wishes to the 16th Chinese Medical Brigade for its contribution towards the development and improvement of Guyana health care. He said, “In a very difficult time of global pandemic, you left your families behind when it was so high. We appreciate this so much. We will be forever grateful and thankful for all that you have brought for us. We would like to extend our greetings to the government and people of China on your return home. I would like to wish you a safe trip back home.”
Dr. QIAO Zhiming, Captain, the 16th Chinese Medical Brigade, said in reply, “This is a special journey in our life. By the end of August 2021, we had attended to 8316 outpatient and emergency patients, 5033 inpatients, conducted 1300 surgeries, treated 300 critically ill patients, completed acupuncture 1071 times, anesthesia 681 times, and reviewed 4000 radiology reports at GPHC and Linden Hospital Complex (LHC).” He added, “What is particularly commendable is that Dr. Wei Wei, Consultant of Pathology, has issued more than 4,000 pathological reports, and handled the specimens that had been backlogged for nearly 10 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic as soon as possible within limited time.”
Ophthalmology is a high-risk department in COVID-19 period. Dr. Lu Xiting, Consultant of Ophthalmology, overcame the challenges of the epidemic and the dilemma of lack of personnel, medical instruments, medicines, and completed cataract surgeries for patients in time, including some successful and challenging one-eyed cataract operation. The long-lost smiles of patients reappeared, and she became the Angel of light in the hearts of patients.
Dr. Zhang Xiangxin, Consultant of Orthopedics, adopted High Tibial Osteotomy (HTO) to preserve the knee for traumatic knee osteoarthritis (KOA) in young and middle-aged patients, so as to better restore the function of the knee joint. It could significantly reduce the cost of surgery and postoperative complications, and promote the treatment of KOA to be more precise, minimally invasive and stepped.
Chinese Innovation Technologies
According to the needs of patients’ condition, Chinese Medical Brigade brought their intelligence into full play and introduced 60 innovation technologies, including general and plastic surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, nephrology, ophthalmology, anesthesia and pathology, to treat patients to the greatest extent, which showed excellent professionalism and compassion for patients. More importantly, Chinese consultants pay more attention to pass on new ideas to Guyana counterparts.
Dr. Chen Ying, Consultant of Radiology, explained six new CT three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction technologies, such as 3D Imaging of Pulmonary Nodules, Virtual Endoscopy of Airway, guided the operation of gastroenterography, optimised the training plan, taught Residents according to their aptitude to improve professional ability. Dr. Chen said he would like to help Guyana radiology to open a new chapter.
Dr. Qu Hui, Consultant of anesthesiology, carried out eight new technologies, providing timely anesthesia and life support for difficult and critical operations. Among them, fiberbronchoscope-guided intubation is one of the most outstanding technologies. The new technology has the advantages of less damage, less stimulation, fewer complications, higher safety and success rate, and is almost suitable for all difficult tracheal intubation. More and more local doctors recognised the practicality and convenience of the new intubation method and gradually learned to use it under the guidance of Dr. Qu.
On August 28, 2021, Dr. Qiao Zhiming, Captain, suddenly received a call for help from Dr. Horace Cox, Director of Vector Control Services, Ministry of Health. The only 96-channel nucleic acid extraction instrument in the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) did not work, which resulted in the detection capacity of COVID-19 of NPHRL being reduced by more than 80 per cent. Every day of delay meant a backlog of nearly 1,000 samples.
Dr. Qiao and Dr. Wei, Pathologist, rushed to NPHRL. After discussions with Chinese domestic engineers, it was confirmed that a part of the instrument was damaged and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, there were no similar accessories in Guyana. However, China and Guyana are far apart, and the regular delivery time may take months. Under the arrangement of Chinese Embassy, Dr. Zhiming commissioned the staff returning to Guyana from China to bring urgently needed accessories.
On September 5, Chinese consultants successfully received the parts. On the morning of September 6, they came to the NPHRL again. After repeated adjustments, the extractor returned to normal after 6 hours of hard work!
The prompt rescue, spanning 20,000 kilometers, took only one week to solve the problem of NPHRL. The versatilities of Chinese medical specialists were obvious. Dr. Cox and staff of the laboratory felt very happy. They expressed their thanks to Chinese Medical Brigade with warm applause and greatly praised the amazing speed of China.
“The short one-year stint of medical assistance makes us better ourselves. We are looking forward to the efforts and contributions of Chinese Medical Brigades to promote the development of Guyana’s health and make the friendship between China and Guyana last forever.” Zhiming said.