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Chinese medical staff longs for hospital surgical instruments

Publishing Date : 14 May, 2018

Author : SHARON TSHIPA

The Chinese medical staff at Princess Marina Hospital have resorted to carrying out some operations manually due to the hospital’s lack of surgical instruments.


 “Over a week ago we needed a stapler to do a bowel anastomosis on a patient. We had no stapler device so we resorted to the hand sewn manual method,” says Chen Zhifen, the General Surgeon and Associate Physician when in China, working as a specialist in surgery at Princess Marina Hospital. Chen says they hope that the Chinese government will be able to donate some surgical instruments to the hospital.


“Past medical teams also had these problems. But as the current team, we want to do all we can to ensure that incoming teams find equipment. We are learning to do some things manually for now, but manual can be slow, we feel we are not putting our best skills and knowledge to good use for the benefit of the country,” he says.  


Over the years, Botswana has invested millions in sending patients to South Africa for surgeries that could not be carried out because of the lack of equipment and specialised doctors. The Chinese medical staff believe they can take on the challenge and transfer relevant skills to local medical officers as long as surgical instruments are procured.


“We want to help see that all operations are done in Botswana. The radiocephalic arteriovenous fistula for hemodialysis procedure is something we could easily do here, dealing with kidney failure or renal disease, there will be no need to go to South Africa once we get the equipment,” says Chen.


If they can do this, Chen believes they will be able to save Botswana money. In the meantime, Chen and his colleagues hope to get some special parts they can assemble and start availing the health service next month. He and his team are driven by their unwavering commitments to Botswana’s health sector, the desire to do their job well, and the need to further strengthen Botswana-China relations. To this end, they are not afraid and will not be intimidated by hardships.


As a sincere friend to Botswana, China began to send medical teams to Botswana in 1981. For the past 37 years, 14 teams consisting of more than 460 Chinese doctors have worked in Botswana. By overcoming many difficulties such as faced by Chen Zhifen and his colleagues, they have helped treat and cure more than 2 million people in the country to date.

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