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Chinese medical teams making a difference in Iraq

China Daily | Updated:2020-03-31


Chen Huai (left), director of the radiology department at First Affiliate Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, meets with medical staff members in Iraq. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The arrival in Iraq of Chinese medical teams about three weeks ago has significantly raised awareness among the Iraqi people about the need for self-protection against the coronavirus, experts said.

"Most residents, soldiers and officers now wear masks when they go out," said Chen Huai, director of the radiology department at First Affiliate Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University. "That number has greatly increased in recent weeks."

Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, has designated three hospitals, including a newly constructed one, to focus on treating the country's COVID-19 patients.

"Many measures that were effective in China-including construction of designated hospitals, wearing masks, nucleic acid tests and two weeks of isolation for people suspected of being infected-have been introduced in Iraq as Chinese medical experts have been conducting exchanges and discussions with their Iraqi counterparts and government officials in recent weeks," Chen told media via remote video on Friday.


Xu Yonghao (in protective suit), a critical care expert from First Affiliate Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, helps train local staff in Iraq. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Xu Yonghao, a critical care specialist at the Chinese hospital, added that many residents have canceled or reduced gatherings and parties.

"That will certainly help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country," he said.

"The Chinese medical experts can help Iraq avoid unproductive detours in the fight against COVID-19 by informing them about China's successful measures and experience."

In addition to helping treat Iraqi patients and screening suspects, Chen and Xu have met with Iraqi health officials and other experts to exchange views.


Xu Yonghao. [Photo provided to]

"Compared with China, Iraq really lacks sufficient anti-epidemic materials, medical equipment and instruments," Chen said.

Chen is helping local hospitals build laboratories, use CT scanners and related medical equipment and instruments to screen suspected patients and is giving training lectures to local medical staff.

Xu is holding discussions and exchanges with local medical personnel to teach them how to avoid being infected with the coronavirus by their patients.

"That is very important-preventing medical workers from becoming infected themselves while fighting the pandemic," Xu said.

The Iraqi people have been very welcoming to Chinese medical experts, he added.

Chen and Xu have visited several hospitals in different provinces of Iraq in recent weeks, both for discussions and exchanges and to see patients.

They are two of the seven Chinese medical experts who came from Guangdong province to assist Iraq.


Chen Huai. [Photo provided to]

Dispatched by the Red Cross Society of China, the Chinese medical experts are from major hospitals in Guangdong. They flew to Baghdad on a chartered plane sent by Iraqi transport authorities on March 7.

In addition to Iraq, the Chinese government has sent medical experts to Italy, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Iran, Cambodia, Pakistan, Laos and Venezuela to help those countries fight COVID-19, according to Chinese authorities.

A Chinese medical expert team consisting of eight members from Jiangsu province arrived in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, on Monday. It was the first time China sent medical experts to a South American country as part of efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities said.

Meanwhile, China has, so far, provided emergency assistance to more than 80 nations and regions around the world, as well as the World Health Organization, African Union and other related international organizations, authorities said.

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