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Chinese doctors restore hope at Ugandan hospital

Source: Xinhua | 2020-01-21

KAMPALA, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Sula Ssentongo from Mukono district in central Uganda almost gave up on life after a tumor grew in his neck. His first surgery was not successful and therefore he had to undergo a second.

The young man, aged 26, said that his swelling neck almost devastated him before receiving medical care at the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital in the capital Kampala, where he met Wang Yong, a surgeon in the 20th batch of Chinese doctors on a tour of duty in Uganda.

Fortunately, Ssentongo's second surgery was a success.

"If it is possible, I would take a picture with him and hang it in my room. I feel very relieved after the operation," Ssentongo said while recovering from the surgery. "After recovery I know I will be better, work harder and even raise a family."

Ssentongo is one of some 220 million patients in Africa who have been treated by Chinese medical personnel since 1963. His surgeon Wang arrived in Kampala last year and is one of about 1,000 Chinese doctors currently providing free medical services in Africa.

More than 211 Chinese doctors have served in Uganda since the government of China's southern province of Yunan dispatched the first group of doctors to the East African country in 1983.

Wang said his local colleagues are equally skilled, but lack equipment. "The surgeons here are dedicated to their work and are also excellent. They however lack some resources, which limits their performance."

To improve medical practice in Uganda, the Chinese government donated the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital, which was put into operation in 2012.

Timothy Tumwesigye is an intern at the hospital. He assisted Wang in the surgery on Ssentongo.

The operation was quick and neat, Tumwesigye said.

"It was my first time to assist such a procedure, a head and neck surgery. It was a nice experience to work with him. He used high tech gadgets that make the procedure much cleaner and the visibility is good," Tumwesigye said.

Tumwesigye said the Chinese doctors are highly skilled and provide healthcare much needed in the country.

"They are using various skills to perform different surgeries and help the local population. They are using tools that are good and we would like to incorporate into our system. It is a learning experience as well as a service that is beneficial to the community," Tumwesigye said.