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CQ Doctors' Foreign Aid Diaries|Zhang Jinsong: Dengue fever never beats us down

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-11-26 15:03

"Although it was hard in PNG, we gained a lot from it." On November 9th, Dr. Zhang Jinsong took a break at his office in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, and then recalled his experience of providing medical aid in Papua New Guinea to CQNEWS.

In 2002, as the member of the first Chinese medical aid team to PNG, Zhang and other nine doctors arrived at Port Moresby General Hospital. The medical team was organized independently by the Chongqing Municipal People's Government, and would stay at the hospital for two years.

"I still think of the shock we had when we first arrived in PNG," said Zhang. PNG has a high incidence of oral cancer, but there was no oral surgeon. The infrastructure for stomatology here was almost none. The only dental professional they had was Dr. Apaio who was still earning his master degree in oral surgery.

A week later, Zhang set a goal for himself: to establish the Department of Stomatology at Port Moresby General Hospital, train local oral surgeons, and leave a team specialized in oral medication for the locals.

"When I just got there, Dr. Apaio said to me, 'you can count on me from now on.'" Even though Dr. Apaio didn't trust Zhang at the moment, Zhang believed this situation would change very soon, because surgeons always believe that "skills tell the truth".

Soon, a 19-year-old female patient came in. The patient had suffered from facial asymmetry for 15 years, and several traction treatments didn't work on her. Zhang not only provided her conventional treatment, but also patiently offered her psychological counseling, helping her to ease the mental burden over the years. She is able to regain confidence gradually.

Later, under the leadership of Zhang, the department successfully completed the first radical operation for an oral cancer patient in PNG. "Right after finishing the operation, Apaio said, 'I'll count on you from now on.'"

As a result, Zhang began to teach Apaio regarding oral surgery systematically. "From oral anatomy to systematic theories, diagnosis, and doctor-checking, I taught him everything," Zhang said. Two years later, by the time Zhang returned from PNG, the oral maxillofacial surgery team at Port Moresby General Hospital has taken shape.

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