With local patients packed with a temporary clinic in the midst of Djibouti’s humid weather, sweats dropped down from the foreheads of Chinese doctors, who were carefully treating villagers through traditional Chinese medicine and modern therapy.
Having suffered long illness, these villagers departed home very early on Sunday morning to stagger through rough roads heading to the temporary clinic originally a primary school in their village.
As the sun emerged to cast its warm sheen over the village, Chinese doctors from a naval hospital ship arrived to meet with local patients, bring free medical services to those who finally saw the hope of recovery.
As they had learned the news about the visit of Chinese physicians from “Peace Ark,” the villagers of Doraleh, which is located in less than 10 km from the capital of Djibouti, gathered in the clinic. Children also played among those patients and their families, just eagerly waiting to see strange foreigners,the Chinese physicians.
Earlier in the morning, Chinese physicians from “Peace Ark” drove through rough roads with dilapidated houses and listless pedestrians around them.
“There are more than 1,200 people living in this village. They have no health clinic, and no foreign medical workers come here, except people from the United Nations agencies, who come here rarely to provide humanitarian support such as food and water for the villagers,” said Omar Farah Bader, the young village chief who was working to maintain the order of patients.
Upon arriving, the Chinese physicians quickly put their drugs and equipment in place and started to treat the villagers who lined up for the generous help.
Those seriously ill patients took their precedence to receive diagnosis and treatment. Among them were those who walked on crutches or with the support of family members. Most of them suffered pains of low back, legs and shoulders among others.
After continuous working for five hours, about 20 Chinese physicians hurried to finish their simple lunch just for earlier returning to their intensive work, by then the temperature had been rising up to more than 40 degrees centigrade.
“You can see that Djibouti weather is very hot and humid, and a lot of people have no decent houses. They sleep on the street and so many people here are easily affected by arthritis,” said Zhang Yanzhao, a Chinese doctor who alleviated patients’ pain with acupuncture and cupping, traditional Chinese therapeutic approaches.
“Today there is a 12-year-old child, he is so small and perplexed by arthritis, it is difficult for him to walk,” said Zhang in a sad tone.
The land in the country, scorched by the high temperatures, is most covered by sand. And due to bad natural environment and low-level economic development, most local people live a quite difficult living and many people have no access to medical service after they fell ill.
The Chinese physicians also found that eye diseases are popular seen among villagers.
Ophthalmologist Song Ping explained that cataract and conjunctivitis are very common among local people due to the windy weather, sand and strong ultraviolet ray in the country.
Within a day, 200 to 300 villagers and neighboring people came to the navy’s mobile clinic. Chinese physicians also arranged a special bus to send those seriously ill patients with more complex cases to the “Peace Ark” for further treatment.
Omar said he has really been moved by the hard work of the Chinese physicians.
“The Chinese physicians have done everything here now, and the villagers will always remember them and keep this in their hearts,” he said.
After a day-long medical services, the Chinese physicians had to go back to their “Peace Ark” hospital. As their vehicle was departing from the village, the villagers were waving their hands for a long time to see the Chinese physicians off, and the children were running around the car to bid a farewell to those foreigners who were no longer strangers.