Fudan doctors on medical missions save lives in Morocco

Release Date:2024-05-10Views:10

In the cell phone of JIANG Yunqi, an attending physician in orthopedics at Zhongshan HospitalFudan University and team leader of the 196th batch of Chinese Medical Team to Moroccos Settat division, there’s a special snapshot, which was taken in the operating room, showing Jiang and a Moroccan patient who, despite his recent surgery under lumbar anesthesia, insisted on sitting up to express his gratitude to the Chinese doctor who healed him.

Last October, the 196th batch of Chinese Medical Team to Morocco set off to commence a two-year medical aid mission. This 10-member team, with six members from Fudan-affiliated hospitals, has many stories and photos like this that capture the essence of their work.

Innovative Solutions in Challenging Conditions

The team is based at the Hassan II-Hospital in Settat, the only public comprehensive hospital in the region, catering to approximately 700,000 people and also serving patients from surrounding underdeveloped areas. These patients often delay seeking medical care due to financial constraints.

One such patient was a 75-year-old diabetic man named Abu (pseudonym). Given his age and frail health, he was advised to be transferred to larger hospitals in Casablanca. However, for Abus family, reaching Settat was already a stretch. Upon learning of his situation, Xu Rui, an attending physician in the Department of Anesthesiology at Eye and ENT Hospital of Fudan University, reassessed Abus anesthesia condition and decided to proceed with caution. Jiang and GAO Kanda, an associate chief physician from Huashan Hospital Fudan University, successfully performed the surgery. The patient recovered smoothly and was discharged two days later, to the immense relief and gratitude of his family.

The teams collaborative spirit, often taking innovative steps to save lives, is a common theme in their daily work. Working 24-hour shifts on weekends and attending to patients in the middle of the night are now routine for the team members.

XU Rui recounts a rescue of a 27-year-old woman who gave birth in the early hours of the morning. Upon arrival at the operating room, the team found the woman had lost a significant amount of blood and urgently needed fluid replenishment. With a shortage of instruments for fluid therapy, Xu employed a central venous catheter (CVC) she had brought from China. After three hours of intense effort, the woman was saved.

Building a Sustainable Medical Legacy

To better meet the high demand for anesthetic care in obstetrics and gynecology, Xu spent about a month learning from International Peace Maternity & Child Health Hospital of China welfare institute (IPMCH) and sought advice from Yin Hua, an anesthesiologist who had assisted in Morocco from 2006 to 2008, on effective anesthetic techniques under constrained conditions.

Fortunately, we have still managed to pull throughmost of the time,” Xiao Zhiwen, an attending physicianfrom Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, mentioned in his work log. Before coming to Settat, he had never thought it difficult to perform a routine operation in general surgery, until he went to Settat and found that the surgical instruments were often only a few pliers, a needle holders and a few simple retractors.

Despite the challenges, such as language barriers, resource limitations, cultural differences, and religious beliefs, the team is determined to provide the best possible healthcare. WANG Jue, an attending physician at Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, emphasizes the importance of adapting to these challenges.

On April 16, after more than a month of careful preparation, the team officially donated a range of medical supplies, including equipment, disinfectants, and consumables, valued at 100,000 Moroccan dirhams (approximately 70,000 RMB) to the Hassan II-Hospital.

Overcoming Local Climate and Homesickness

Water scarcity is another challenge faced by the team in Settat. A water outage lasting over 20 hours disrupted the teams work and life just months ago. Jiang coordinated with the local hospital, devising innovative water-saving methods to minimize the impact on clinical work. The team also faced dietary adjustments due to the local climate, which favors root vegetables like onions and potatoes over leafy greens. To address this, the team's cook, LUO Huishan fromChildrens Hospital of Fudan University, sourced a variety of vegetables from other regions and even cultivated a vegetable garden in the yard, which has since flourished and provided fresh produce for the teams meals.

Besides, the team members, far from their families, feel homesick for their homes. When coming to an unfamiliar country and having to stay there for two years, Gao deems it necessary to adjust himself to it. After work, he often calls his wife and his daughter to ease the longing for home. Though having daily video calls to her family, Xu still feels a sense of guilt and homesickness, but hopes to set an example for her son by bringing hope to the Moroccan people and safeguarding the lives of others.

Since 1975, when the focus of Shanghais foreign medical aid shifted to Morocco, medical staff from various Fudan-affiliated hospitals have provided assistance in multiple regions across the country. These experts have covered almost all clinical departments, including general surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, cardiology, traditional Chinese medicine, and anesthesiology, to name but a few. Meanwhile, the team has included physicians, nurses, technicians, pharmacists, translators, and chefs, with a total of 260 medics dispatched to Morocco.

Members of the 196th Chinese Medical Team to Morocco: JIANG Yunqi (first from right), GAO Kangda (third from right), WANG Jue (second from right), XU Rui (second from left), XIAO Zhiwen (second from left), LUO Huishan (first from left) took a group photo before leaving for Morocco

The doctors from Fudan-affiliated hospitals have illuminated unfamiliar lands with the light of medical knowledge and sown the seeds of life with the compassion of healers. Just as Jiang and his team treasure their photos, it is believed that more images capturing the genuine friendship between the Chinese and Moroccan people will be cherished in the hearts of both nations for years to come.

Presented by Fudan University Media Center

Writer: DONG Kaiyan, SU Xinyi,WANG Mengqi