It was a scene that harked back to a different age at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday when a group of elderly doctors and nurses met and took a trip down memory lane,according to today's China Daily.
The 50-strong group now in their 60s and 70s shook hands, exchanged greetings and examined the white hair and wrinkles of their colleagues of half a century ago, marvelling at how time has flown.
It was 50 years ago next month that these doctors and nurses became members of a special task force commissioned to provide medical assistance to local people in the then Xikang Tibet autonomous region in Southwest China.
Sparsely distributed and isolated from the outside by the mountains in what is now part of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Sichuan Province, the local people were faced with an obvious lack of medical resources.
"It is so good to see old colleagues again," said Ye Ganyun, who headed the medical team half a century ago.
"We have spent the best part of our life there, helping people in appalling conditions," he added. "There is nothing to feel regretful for."
Despite the harsh conditions, Ye and his colleagues had treated more than 200,000 local patients, inoculated nearly 40,000 people and taught more than 140,000 with basic medical knowledge by December 1953 when the medical team completed its mission.
Their efforts enabled more than 40 local medical personnel to provide medical services after the task force was gone.
And their feat is still remembered by medical professionals today.
"Their devotion to the local people and their strong will to work under the toughest conditions is a legacy for all of us today,"said Zhang Wenkang, minister of public health.
As part of its efforts to help its western regions to develop, China has pledged more funds and more projects to improve the medical service there.
(People's Daily 10/12/2001)