Chinese medical ship treats 4,000 Tongans
A hospital ship from China has spent a week in Tonga providing free medical services to more than 4,000 patients and performing 39 surgeries.
The Peace Ark Naval Hospital Ship from China has spent a week in Tonga providing free medical services to more than 4,000 patients and performing 39 surgeries.
132 Chinese medical personnel worked alongside Tongan doctors and nurses at Vuna Wharf at Nuku'alofa.
The ships next stop is Fiji, and it's expected to travel to Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea in the coming weeks.
The Tonga director of Health, Siale Akauola, told Mary Baines that Tonga was grateful for the medical assistance.
SIALE AKAUOLA: They came and provided free medical services for the public here in Tonga. It was in the form of the ship itself, where they actually allowed people who wanted to have consultations go onto the boat, and there was also a community outreach team that went out with members of our community health workers, to the health centre, and also another team that went to one of the outlying islands Eua, providing similar kinds of services to the public.
MARY BAINES: So I know there were about 4,000 outpatients and they performed 39 surgeries. So what kind of treatments were they providing?
SA: What they provided were general consultations, medical consultations, they offered to test, do laboratory testing of samples, blood, urine samples for patients. They were able to provide scans, also x-rays, dental work. They provided free dental care for people who wanted it. Dermatology, ophthalmology, general surgical clinics. They had an orthapaedic surgeon who came to the hospital. So it was mostly general stuff, general surgical care stuff. They did scoping, some endoscopy on some patients, removed lumps and bumps on a lot of people. They provided us an opportunity for exchange because some of our staff were sent onto the boat, some of their staff came to the hospital, so it's a bit of a new experience for us, we haven't conducted this kind of exercise in this significant way. It was a good experience for people to share and learn from each other.
MB: One man had a bullet removed as well, from when he was shot some time ago in the United States?
SA: Yes, that's what I've been told. An old bullet which has been removed from somebody, I haven't actually seen the actual report. So probably someone brought not only memories but a bullet from the United States.
MB: For those Tongan doctors and nurses who helped alongside the Chinese doctors it must have been a really good learning experience.
SA: Yeah. Although the timing was not that long, less than one week, I think it's the exposure, for them to experience getting into a hospital boat, seeing the kind of discipline they operate under, and the kind of dedication that people work under. It's that kind of sharing experience. Of course we did present to them the capability of our local doctors and nurses here and they were quite impressed with what our people here can do. So it was a two-way learning experience for everyone involved.
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