Nov-26 10:02 SERVICE
Chinese medics assist Azerbaijan to combat COVID-19 pandemic
A team of Chinese medical experts is racing against time to assist Azerbaijan in its fight against the coronavirus.
The expertise of the 10 medics, who are all from the West China Hospital, ranges from critical care and epidemiology to infection control in hospitals.
Cheng Yongzhong, leader of the team that arrived in Azerbaijan on August 4, told CGTN in an online interview that the team is divided into three groups undertaking different tasks ¨C epidemic prevention and control, medical treatment and laboratory testing.
"Our team has conducted detailed field research in several designated COVID-19 hospitals and non-designated hospitals, visited patients in the wards and had in-depth discussion on the treatment of critical patients," said Cheng.
Most of the team members fought on the front lines when the disease broke out in China. Wu Ying worked at an intensive care unit in Wuhan City for two months at the height of the outbreak there. She knows all too well how safe nursing practices need to be fully adhered to when treating COVID-19 patients.
"We entered the contaminated areas in each hospital and had communication with the medical staff there to find out how things are really going here. Then we would give daily reports to the administration of local health system, which include what we have seen, the real problems as well as our suggestions," she said.
Wu says there have been challenges, noting some key differences between China and a country thousands of kilometers away.
"We have different cultures, and different health systems. What's proved to be successful in China can hardly be put directly into application in Azerbaijan. So we must tell the differences and understand their beliefs and their culture, and give some advice suitable for their health system," she said.
Azerbaijan has reported more than 34,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are currently some 2,000 patients receiving treatment, and newly-reported cases are averaging about 100 a day.
"We are really glad to have our new colleagues from China who are helping us to establish their preventive methods using their past experience. We do believe that all efforts and endeavors of the Chinese medical team will help us achieve our common goals in fighting the pandemic," said Firangiz Aliyeva, an official with the Administration of the Regional Medical Divisions of Azerbaijan.
The Chinese medics point out that the country still faces multiple challenges before completely containing the pandemic.
"First, the Azerbaijani people's self-protection consciousness needs to be improved," said Cheng. He added that related prevention and control measures also need to be strengthened in both hospitals and local communities.
"The designated hospitals, in particular, should set up the department of infection control and beef up their epidemic prevention and control staff," he said.
Cheng shared a story to illustrate how the team's mission has received wide support from both local authorities and residents.
On a Friday morning, the Chinese experts went to the national oil worker hospital and visited the severe and critical patients in ICU. Just before they were about to leave, a female patient who had just been extubated tightly held the medics' hands and shouted "Friends, friends!"
Cheng said there are still areas in which the two nations can deepen their healthcare cooperation, especially on vaccine research and development.
More than 20 Chinese medical teams have been dispatched to different countries to assist with efforts against COVID-19. For the West China Hospital, this is the fourth country they've dispatched medics to, after Italy, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
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