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Chinese Doctor Helps Improving Health of Namibian Populace

Chu Hailin, a 51-year-old Chinese doctor, based in Namibia is healing locals at the Katutura State Hospital Acupuncture Department in the country’s capital, Windhoek.

Doctor Chu Hailin treats a patient at the Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, Nov. 5, 2019. (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)

The department offers acupuncture treatment, cupping, and other forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

For Chu, transforming the health of locals has been a fulfilling vocation.

“The greatest feeling here is that knowledge and skills can be fully utilized to help patients. I am delighted to relieve their pain,” Chu said.

Growing up in China, Chu always dreamt of serving in Africa.

As fate would have it, Chu was part of the medical team dispatched by the Department of Health of Zhejiang Province to Africa, including Namibia for two consecutive terms from 2008 to 2012. Since 1996, two Chinese medicine doctors and two nurses have been sitting at the Katutura Hospital.

“After working in Africa, I found that Chinese medicine is widely used. I feel that working in Africa is very hands-on, and we can make full use of our professional knowledge. Chinese medicine has a great place in Africa,” he said.

Upon finishing his term in 2012, he left Namibia. Nevertheless, he felt he could still offer more to Namibia and the broader African continent. He wanted his accumulated wealth of experience in clinical and academic knowledge gained at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University to benefit the global community.

Second-time lucky, his vision and passion for Africa saw Chu return to Namibia in 2018 to join the medical team at Katutura Hospital’s Acupuncture Department.

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“I am very happy to be back in Namibia to serve Namibians,” he said.

Chu’s passion for Africa has also been infectious to his family, with his wife, Cai Xiaoying, also serving as a medical team nurse in Africa.

Meanwhile, the 51-year old’s return catapulted his enthusiasm for Chinese medicine’s role in global health and development.

“Many people asked me why I came to aid again. I do it not only for my country but for my responsibility to the people — a love for Africa. This is from the heart. If asked to return next time, I will come again,” he said.

According to Chu, the team has since worked strategically to boost Namibia’s availability to traditional Chinese medicine and healthcare. These include promoting Chinese methods of acupuncture, and moxibustion to enhance understanding among the domestic health fraternity, as well as upholding standards enforcement.

Moreover, Chu’s leadership and management have fostered an organizational culture of inclusivity at the acupuncture department. Treatment is provided to all patients on a non-discriminatory basis, regardless of their health or societal status, to evoke change.

“This is done for the respect of patients, make communication easy, and so that the patient feels close. We aim to give hope for the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Namibia, locals have lauded the Chinese doctor for professional etiquette.

Saara Shinedina, a 43-year old patient who suffered from knee pain following a car accident, has only been to the acupuncture clinic three times, but her health improved tremendously.

“I commend the Chinese doctor and team for another chance of good health. I feel much better and no longer in severe pain as before,” Shinedima said.

It is the testimonies from patients, according to Chu, that has motivated him to provide an excellent service.

“When patients tell me that they have accepted and appreciate our treatment makes me very happy that it relieved the pain. That way I know I have fulfilled my purpose and exude the love for Africa,” Chu added.

The acupuncture department attends to 70 patients on average daily and about 100 patients on busy days. As of September 2019, a total number of 18,816 patients were treated at the clinic.

The health sector in Namibia is one of the sectors that has greatly benefited from Chinese aid, investment and support over the years, said Juliet Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services.

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Written by How Africa

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