Amalia Nguavava, 69, sits on a hospital chair with a hint of a smile, needles protruding from her knee.
It has become part and parcel of her routine as the Namibian gets acupuncture therapy three times a week at the Chinese Acupuncture department in the Namibian capital, Windhoek.
For Amalia, this has been the road to recovery after her unfortunate incident in 2006 when she injured her knee at her farm, which is about 150 km from the capital.
“My knee was swollen and I had excruciating pain for a couple of years. I was referred to different hospitals across the country but to no avail and the swollen knee was hindering my livelihood, as I am a farmer,” she told Xinhua during one of her therapy sessions.
To many, medical treatment might seem as a painful procedure, but this has become Amalia’s hope to recover.
“I wish I had a picture to show you how it was before. The swelling has subsided drastically, since undertaking this form of therapy,” she added.
Amalia is one of the many patients in Namibia who have resorted to Chinese Acupuncture therapy, according to Dr Yu Jiwei, one of the expert doctors stationed at the Acupuncture department which operates from Monday to Friday every week.
Yu said the therapy that is administered by the Chinese medical team has gained popularity in Namibia since it landed in the country in 1996.
“This department was established in 1996, and since then patients have been increasing over the years as they find this form of TCM helpful,” he said.
A dedicated team of two doctors run this department that usually handles up to 30 to 40 patients on a daily basis. The department does not charge the patients as the treatment is free.
According to Yu, acupuncture is administered to those patients who suffer from a range of ailments which include acute chronic pains, mild pains on the different parts of the body as well as those who would have suffered a stroke and even menstrual pain.
“This form of therapy is effective as it targets the nerves and muscles of those who are in pain as it gives them relief. The acupuncture is done with different time intervals, some have repeated sessions depending on the severity of the ailments,” he said.
Ndapandula Shivute is mother to a two-year-old who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. According to the her, after two weeks of acupuncture treatment, he has been able to sit.
“The Chinese acupuncture coupled with his daily Western physiotherapy has helped in his improved state. I hope with the regular visits he will be able to progress further,” she said.
Dr Feng Jine, one of the veteran doctors, said that, since Namibians are more aware, they have come to accept their techniques.
“Acupuncture does not completely heal but it helps with the rehabilitation,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, every two years, the Chinese government sends a new batch of doctors to replace those who would have finished their tenure. To date the Chinese Government has deployed close to 40 doctors since its establishment.
Currently, the Chinese government funds close to 40,000 U.S. dollars annually for medication and equipment for the Chinese Medical team based in Namibia.