ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- As the first rays of sunlight penetrated into an operating room inside the Chinese-invested Addis Ababa Silk Road General Hospital, a team of specialized medical professionals are conducting Africa's first advanced vein care and treatment.
The operation led by Zhang Qiang marks a new milestone in the hospital's fast growing reputation as the leading healthcare service provider in the East African country.
"Varicose veins is one of the most popular diseases in the world. Traditionally, the treatment destroys all the veins along the leg leading to a lot of complications. Now, we have a very new technology," Zhang told Xinhua after successfully conducting the first advanced vein care and treatment procedure, commonly known as CHIVA, on the African continent.
"The new treatment changes the whole story. Usually, the patient has to stay in hospital for three to seven days after the procedure; but now the patient can walk out of the operating room right away and go back to normal daily life. That is a big change because of cutting-edge technology," Zhang added.
Wang Jianhua, chief executive officer (CEO) of the hospital, said the success of the operation has helped fulfil their aspiration of modernizing healthcare in Ethiopia with high-quality medical technologies and expertise.
WINNING HEARTS OF ETHIOPIANS
Etenesh Sisay, a mother of five from Addis Ababa, is one of the many beneficiaries of free medical treatment provided by the hospital to low-income Ethiopians.
"I rarely go to medical facilities as it is very difficult for me to afford the ever-growing cost. Instead, most of the time I rely on traditional treatment, which is less costly but not as effective as the one available at private health facilities," Sisay said.
"Thanks to this hospital, I am now receiving medical examinations and treatment free of charge. This is very important for us as it would have been very difficult for us to access such excellent treatment elsewhere," she added.
Bitew Sewunet, one of the latest batch of 300 local community members benefiting from the hospital's free medical treatment, called it a role model for other medical facilities.
"Nowadays, it is almost impossible to find such a high-standard health facility as inclusive as the Silk Road hospital. It is very difficult for those financially unable members of the community like me to benefit from the latest advancements in the healthcare sector," Sewunet said.
"We hope other health facilities in our country learn from this hospital and address the needs of low-income community members," he added.
CHINA-AFRICA COOPERATION IN HEALTH CARE
As the first Chinese-funded hospital in Ethiopia, the Addis Ababa Silk Road General Hospital, with a team of about 200 multi-disciplinary health professionals from 16 countries, has often been regarded as an emblem of broader China-Africa cooperation in the public health sector.
Ethiopia's State Minister of Health Dereje Duguma praised its state-of-the-art facility, and especially its support for local health facilities.
Anvar Makhmudov, the hospital's medical director, said the hospital is significantly contributing to the improvement of the overall quality of healthcare in Ethiopia.
"The local community can now get any kind of medical treatment without the need to travel abroad to get some special treatment. The hospital is improving day-by-day with new techniques and approaches here," Makhmudov said.
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Zhao Zhiyuan said the hospital is an important program of the Belt and Road Initiative.
"Over the past four years, the hospital has been adhering to the spirit of doctors' boundless love, and made outstanding contributions to community health in Ethiopia," the ambassador told a special ceremony held recently to mark the fourth anniversary of the hospital.
"With great efforts from all sides, (the Addis Ababa Silk Road General Hospital) keeps growing with high-quality development. It is not only the highlight of China-Ethiopia medical cooperation but also the bridge of bilateral friendship," Zhao said. ■