By Sun Xingwei, Liu Lu and Li Ye
Members of the 15th Chinese military medical expert team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) to Cambodia were awarded the "Peace Knight Medals" by the Cambodian Defense Ministry on January 18 in recognition of their outstanding contributions in helping Cambodia fight the COVID-19 epidemic and improving the level of diagnosis and treatment at the Preah Ket Mealea Hospital, the general hospital of Royal Cambodian Army.
As the head of the team, Chen Wei traveled to Cambodia early in January 2020 and started his career for foreign aid life overseas assistance since then.
In the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, Chen and his colleagues are dedicated to the local fight against the epidemic. They have been busy establishing a hospital infection management system, setting up personnel control procedures, formulating suspected case diagnosis and treatment specifications, improving the entire process of COVID-19 prevention and treatment mechanisms, etc., which had won high recognition from their Cambodian counterparts. The Preah Ket Mealea Hospital where the Chinese expert team was stationed has not had any COVID-19 cases so far, setting a benchmark for local epidemic prevention and control.
"It's not enough to provide medical services solely. The key point of medical assistance is to help Cambodian counterparts improve their skills and train an elite local medical team that can't be taken away," said Chen. Through live teaching, training courses and other methods, the Chinese expert team provided assistance to Cambodian medical staff based on local conditions. At present, the Preah Ket Mealea Hospital has been able to independently conduct some challenging operations that used to be impossible, and the professional level of the medical staff has been effectively improved.
Furthermore, thanks to the coordination of Chen and his team, the first medical team for continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT ) was established and the hemoperfusion and plasma exchange therapy have been independently carried out for the first time in Cambodia. Meanwhile, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), known as one of the three major life support therapies for critically ill patients, will also be introduced to the Preah Ket Mealea Hospital, which underpins the treatment of more critically ill patients.
"The Chinese military doctors have saved my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart," said a farmer from Takéo Province, who came all the way to the hospital to express heartfelt gratitude to Chinese military doctors one morning late last year.
A month before, he accidentally ingested pesticides. Having been treated with gastric lavage therapy at the local clinic, he did not turn better and even entered a light coma. The Preah Ket Mealea Hospital admitted him and then urgently asked the Chinese expert team for help. Chen, together with the team members and the Cambodian colleagues, stayed at the ward for two consecutive days until the patient regained consciousness and turned out of danger, who recovered and was discharged a week later.
Lieutenant General Ly Sovan, director of the Preah Ket Mealea Hospital, said, "15 years of continuous assistance provided by the Chinese military medical expert team truly reflects the sincere friendship between Cambodia and China as well as the two militaries."
The work of the Chinese military medical expert team to Cambodia is a vivid epitome of strengthened cooperation between the two countries in the past 15 years, which also demonstrates China's firm commitment to building a China-Cambodia community of shared future.