A Chinese medical support ship docked off Guayaquil is providing free medical care to poor Ecuadorians. The Peace Ark’s arrival “has been a great blessing,” said the daughter of a 75-year-old woman who received sight-saving cataract surgery.
On board, the medical staff has been working round-the-clock shifts to serve the large number of patients, who were previously selected with the help of local health agencies.
The Peace Ark is the second foreign medical ship to offer services to Ecuadorians in two months. In October, the U.S. vessel, USNS Comfort, provided care to more than 4,000 in Esmeraldas.
A 57-year-old man who was to undergo gallstone surgery and had been put off by local health care practicioners due to lack of money saw in the Chinese ship the chance of his life. ”He has been suffering pain from severe colic for more than a year, and they (local doctors) would only give him sedatives,“ his wife told China’s Xinhua news agency.
It is Peace Ark’s first visit to Ecuador, another stop on its multinational Harmony 2018 humanitarian mission which included free medical assistance to Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, among other countries.
The 120-strong Chinese staff, including 57 doctors, 36 pharmacists and 27 nurses, treats patients aboard the fully-equipped vessel featuring eight operating rooms, 300 hospital beds and a helicopter ambulance.
The doctors specialize in a wide variety of specialties, including neurology, gastroenterology, physiotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine, infectious diseases, reconstructive surgery and burns.
Liu Min, in charge of the ship’s pharmacy, said, ”There are many medications“ as well as ”traditional (Chinese) medicine to alleviate many pains. It is a very complete pharmacy.”
Peace Ark’s doctors are expected to attend some 4,000 patients during the week-long stay in Ecuador and perform some 70 surgeries.
Ecuador is the 42nd country visited by the Peace Ark since its launch in 2008. The hospital ship has provided medical service to more than 220,000 people around the world.
Credit: Merco Press, http://en.mercopress.com