Over the course of the past five decades, the Chinese medical teams deployed to Sierra Leone have consistently played a pivotal role in enhancing the nation’s healthcare system, as articulated by Sierra Leonean Health Minister Austin Demby. Addressing a photo exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of China’s inaugural medical team sent to Sierra Leone, Demby underscored the significant contributions made by the Chinese teams, emphasizing the crucial training imparted to local medical staff. He highlighted the continuous progress witnessed over the years, noting that the collaboration has been instrumental in broadening the knowledge base of the country’s medical professionals.
“Our local medical staff have learned a lot,” Minister Demby affirmed, acknowledging the invaluable impact of the Chinese medical teams on Sierra Leone’s healthcare landscape. Describing China as a steadfast ally during both prosperous and challenging times, Demby expressed gratitude and called on China to persist in its efforts to fortify Sierra Leone’s health sector.
The exhibition itself served as a visual testament to the enduring partnership, featuring a myriad of photographs showcasing Chinese medical teams working collaboratively with their local counterparts to treat patients across different periods. Chen Yongjun, the head of the 24th Chinese medical team currently stationed in Sierra Leone, provided insights into the multifaceted engagement of Chinese doctors. He highlighted their active involvement in preventing and treating infectious diseases and common illnesses, bringing cutting-edge technologies and traditional Chinese medical therapies to the forefront of healthcare in Sierra Leone.
Chen stressed that the event not only showcased the tangible achievements of China’s medical assistance but also underscored the enduring cooperation between China and Sierra Leone. Providing a snapshot of the current team’s impact, Chen revealed that, in the span of nine months, they had successfully conducted 320 surgical operations, treated over 15,000 patients, and undertaken six trips to local communities, offering free medical services and benefiting approximately 1,000 residents.
The historical context was not lost, as China’s inaugural medical team set foot in Sierra Leone in 1973, marking the beginning of a sustained commitment that has seen a total of 24 medical teams dispatched to the nation. This longstanding collaboration continues to exemplify the positive impact of international partnerships in advancing healthcare and fostering mutual understanding.