In April of 1964, the Algerian government sent an invitation to China for its medical teams. During the past 40 years, foreign aid teams have been to 47 African countries and regions, with the total medical personnel amounting to 15,000. There are currently 35 Chinese teams in 34 African countries.
Chinese medical teams in Africa mainly offer clinical services of either western or traditional Chinese medicine, or both. There are also comprehensive teams that, apart form clinical treatment, help their service countries with sanitation quarantine, pharmaceutical inspection, disease prevention, health care, and medical equipment maintenance. These teams are composed of experienced medical workers aged between 30 and 50. The term of service is two years.
The teams cooperate with local doctors in curing disease through modern technology, by introducing traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and massage, and combining western and Chinese treatment methods. In the past 40 years, they have treated 170 million patients, earning high commendation from the people and local government. Trying to get advanced medical treatment to Africa and helping improve public health quality, the team members provide medical guidance and teach the local doctors medical skills. To date, Chinese teams have trained 3,000 junior and middle-ranked doctors and hundreds of thousands of public health workers.
Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, former head of state Mauritania, speaks highly of Chinese experts: "They devote themselves wholeheartedly to the work, and are very efficient. Chinese doctors do not fear difficulties. They work in places with poor medical conditions and are very popular among the people. People all want Chinese doctors when they have difficult diseases." Tanzania former president Julius Kambarage Nyerere echoes this sentiment, "I trust Chinese doctors," he said. "They are professional and very conscientious." African governments have awarded medals and certificates to Chinese medical teams to honor their contributions to the public health cause of Africa.
(China.org.cn December 10, 2003)