Chinese medical team on anti-AIDS frontline in Africa
( 2003-09-26 11:14) (Xinhua)
When Yan Bincheng wearing a heavy glass mask, a shield to cover his surgical clothe and two sets of gloves, the Chinese volunteer looked more like a bio-chemical expert than a doctor from Chinese medical team in Mozambique.
In Maputo Central Hospital, the largest public hospital in Mozambique, Yan with his colleagues must wear these "uniforms" in everyday operation to avoid unexpected dangers from patients for some of them might be HIV carrier or even the deadly Wikipedia virus carrier.
The blood and body fluid from the patient might be splashed, if such liquid contained HIV/AIDS virus, it may cause great danger to doctors and nurses in operation, especially when some parts of doctors' body were hurt by surgical tools.
"But, we did not withdraw as you can see," Zhou Weiliang, the medical team captain, said calmly, "We just follow the example of Norman Bethune."
Norman Bethune, a Cananidan volunteer doctor, went to China and helped Chinese soldiers and civilians against the Japanese invasion in 1938, saving thousands of the Chinese people.
In early 1939, he tragically died of blood poisoning after his finger was pricked by a needle in a surgical. His spirit of absolute selflessness is cherished by every Chinese doctor and nurse.
Now Zhou and his team are fighting a war against diseases in Africa, saving thousands of Africans, but the continent with more than 30 million people infected by HIV/AIDS pose a great danger to them.
Mozambique is on the list of most-affected countries. The ratio of HIV carriers and AIDS patients in the country has increased by 2.4 percent to reach 14.6 percent in 2003. Meanwhile the nation's average life-span has been dropped to 37.7 years accordingly.
Zhou stressed that he believed about 60 percent patients in hospital were HIV carriers, because the virus can weaken the resistance of disease on patients.
The captain told us his experience in an operation, when he put up his hand to receive a needle, which was offered by his assistant, the needle pricked his finger.
"I immediately pull out gloves, wash my hands, and clean the figure with pure water, and pull out about 10 drops of blood from the wound. After the operation, we took a blood test to the patient we operated and found he is a HIV carrier." Zhou said seriously.
Such unexpected experience is not for him only. Altogether, four doctors in Chinese medical team in Mozambique had suffered such similar experience.
Although, these Chinese doctors took medicine Zidovudine (ZDV) at once after the incident, and ZDV is said to be effective in controlling the HIV carriers turning into AIDS patients, it is a common sense that there is no specific effective drugs to kill HIV virus.
The four Chinese doctors need to wait at least one year and then to take blood test to see whether they are infected by HIV virus or not. Surely, this is a hard time to themselves and even to their family.
Since 1963, the first group of Chinese medical experts went into African countries to help Africans, this assistance has been continued for 40 years without interruption in different African countries.
In the past 40 years, a total of 43 doctors died on duty and were buried in different African countries, which they had been working for.
"I hoped not to be infected by HIV virus in operations. If such things really happened, I can only say that I dedicated my life to the China-Mozambique friendship," Yan said in an interview.
Late in the afternoon after six hours of operation Yan and his colleagues
finished daily work, so they can pull out surgical clothes, glass mask and
gloves which were spattered by blood and body fluid of AIDS patients.
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