The outdated medical facilities were always a challenge for the local doctors, but the rare drought and the resulting health problems across the country made the work even more difficult. But Dr Xu never allowed these factors to get the better of him, and patients diagnosed by him all got timely and proper care, winning him the title of “No. 1 doctor”.
The public praise won by Dr Xu and his medical team was heard by top officials in Lesotho. In December 2015, the team received a phone call asking them to visit a senior official who was ill and to keep the news secret. They were only told that the patient had just undergone an operation, and no other specific information was revealed.
Based on that limited knowledge, Dr Xu came to the conclusion that the patient’s wound was not fully healed, which caused infection; he recommended musk cream and oral antibiotics. The official’s condition turned out to be exactly as Dr Xu had diagnosed and he recovered fully thanks to the prescription.
The healing power of the Chinese doctor and medicine surprised the mystery patient, who turned out to be Pakalitha Mosisili, Lesotho’s prime minister.
Another government official, a female diplomat who was paralysed after a tumour operation seven years ago, also went to Dr Xu on the recommendation of the prime minister. After thorough examination and inquiry, Xu discovered that the diplomat’s suffering was caused by long-term mental stress.
He recommended acupuncture and moxibustion (heat therapy) as well as nutritional supplements, and the patient was back to her normal self in less than 20 days.
Mr Mosisili went back to the medical team for help last September to save his 78-year-old sister-in-law, whom he regarded as mother. The patient was in a coma, and with such a serious condition there was great pressure on Dr Xu. The prime minister pinned his last hope on Dr Xu and decided to let his sister-in-law receive treatment at the Chinese-based hospital.
Dr Xu quickly got down to work and detected severe heart failure, pulmonary infection and polyserositis (inflammation of several membranes). After intensive treatment by Dr Xu and his team, she healed 20 days later.
The great job they did meant a lot not only to the prime minister, but also to the Chinese embassy in Lesotho, which praised the medical team for its support to the nation’s diplomatic cause.
Sun Xianghua, Chinese ambassador to Lesotho, spoke highly of the diplomatic contribution made by the medical team when it left for China last October.
Xu said the year in Lesotho taught him a lot, adding that it was only after working abroad that he fully realised the greatness of China and what patriotism meant.
“The medical team not only provided medical aid, but was also a bridge that built friendship between the two countries and played a key part in political and diplomatic relations. We should always have the sense of self-sacrifice to serve the bigger interest,” Dr Xu said.
China started sending medical aid to Lesotho, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, in 1997 – with more than 100 medical staff going there in the past 20 years.