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China sends 17th medical aid team to Madagascar
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A medical aid team consisting of 30 Chinese doctors, interpreters and cooks left Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province, Monday morning for Madagascar on a two-year medical assistance mission.

A farewell ceremony was held for the team in Lanzhou early on Monday by Gansu government, the International Health Exchange Center of the Chinese Ministry of Health, and Gansu Health Bureau. The team will first go to Shanghai in east China and will fly for Africa on Nov. 11.

All the team members came from Gansu Province's medical institutions, who were specialized in areas including medicine, surgery, orthopedics, and obstetrics and gynecology.

According to an agreement signed between the governments of China and Madagascar, and entrusted by the Chinese Ministry of Health, Gansu Province has sent 16 medical aid teams consisting of 474 team members to Madagascar since 1975.

The medical teams have treated 12.7 million patients in 4 medical sites, cared for 180,000 who were hospitalized, and saved more than 40,000 seriously ill people.

A total of 16 Chinese medical workers were awarded the Medal of Grand Knight, and 54 others won the Medal of the Knight from the government of Madagascar, for their devotion and outstanding work.

China began sending medical aid teams to developing countries in the 1960s.

According to the Ministry of Health, China has sent about 20,000 medical workers worldwide since the first went to Algeria in 1963, treating 250 million patients.

Currently, there are more than 1,250 Chinese medical aid team members working across the world.

(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2008)

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