Fruits of China-Zimbabwe Fighting Against COVID-19

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By Yimin ZHU

COVID-19 is the common foe of humanity, which has spread rapidly and enveloped 210 countries and regions just in several months. It is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), as it spreads fastest and widest with the most difficulties to cope with in a century.

It is a pandemic the likes of which we have not seen in a century and the global communities will jointly beat. On the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Zimbabwe, President Xi and the Chinese government entrusted Hunan to form the China’s Anti-COVID-19 Medical Expert Team to Zimbabwe which arrived in Harare on May 11, 2020. Arranged by the Chinese Embassy to Zimbabwe, the team was received by H.E President Emmerson Mnangagwa to a super-high specification, and participated in the ministerial coordination meeting chaired by Vice President Kembo Mohadi.

The team exchanged widely with Ministry of Health and Child Care, Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Education, and visited the medical institutions in Harare, Mashonaland East Province, Mashonaland West Province, Mashonaland Central Province, and communicated with WHO officers and UK officials of Department of DFID  in Zimbabwe.

Each and every arrangement embodies the great importance and recognition on China’s experience on combating the epidemic from the Zimbabwe government, as well as the warm welcome and friendship from the Zimbabweans.

During the two weeks of exchanges, we have witnessed the whole nation is beating the virus in an intensified and orderly manner.

Particularly, the Ad Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task  Force is set up for reporting the epidemic situations periodically to president, cabinet and the government under the unified leadership and deployment. On March 17, H.E President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a state of national disaster, promptly activated the public health incidents emergency response and prolonged it twice.

Admirably, Zimbabwe keeps consistent with the COVID-19 Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan by WHO, beefs up the national core capabilities highlighted in the international Health Regulations (IHR).

All ministries comprehensively coordinate to tackle the pressing issues emerging in the epidemic prevention and control, and make overall plans for the provinces and regions to follow the epidemic control measures while shouldering the administration responsibility.

Both domestic and international resources are fully allocated to fight the outbreak. The mainstream media are directed to offer public opinion support.

The science-based and authoritative opinions on protection and expert suggestion of effective preventive measures are made public, like wearing masks, washing hands more frequently, refraining from going outdoors,avoiding gathering, and consciously staying at home.

Everywhere we stand, there are bold large-sized anti-epidemic advertisements along the streets, the posters of dissemination of knowledge in epidemic prevention and control in public places, which gives the public the science-based guidance to know of epidemic,having achieved effective results of only 48 cases nationwide.

Currently, over 100,000 cases have been confirmed in 54 African countries and districts.

The outbreak spreads from individual case to larger areas, from urban to rural areas, from known to unknown situations, and decreases from south and north to central regions.

There remains the risk of the all-round outbreak, including in Zimbabwe. To this end, in the spirit of respecting science and practices, the expert team of twelve members summarizes the practices and writes the National Information Sharing on Fighting COVID-19, based on China’s practices against the outbreak and the ones with Hunan’s characteristics.

The first part proposes ten golden sentences for training in epidemic control in Zimbabwe that boil down China’s experience and the practices in Hunan in an approachable manner, which will play a crucial role in epidemic control, the training of Zimbabwean healthcare workers, especially of the technical guidance, and in the popularization of China’s experience for Zimbabwean public.

These sentences are summarized by the Chinese medical expert team for all the Zimbabwean people to fight COVID-19.

The second part highlights the focuses and difficulties of epidemic control in Zimbabwe that is comprised of nine chapters of suggestions, including command system, public mobilization, social isolation, screening in the community, NAT, epidemic monitoring, diagnosis and treatment plans, protection of health workers, coordinated development.

The third part is targeted at the potential outbreak and practical needs of Zimbabwe. The appendices consist of nine aspects, including the construction of fever clinic, that of makeshift hospital, NAT procedure against COVID-19 for medical institution, management of tracing major groups, implementation plan of differentiated control measures in different regions, health QR codes, resumption of work and production, in the form of chart, picture and text. These can be referred to by the Zimbabwean government, relevant authorities and medical institutions in the following phrase of epidemic control. For clearing the path for better ones later, the expert team hands the report over to the Ad Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force in the meeting of summarization and feedback.

Over the span of two weeks, we admire the effective efforts in epidemic control by the hard-working, brave and smart Zimbabwean people.

Our exchanges are more for beefing up confidence, sharing experience, bolstering cooperation, working together to defeat the COVID-19 outbreak, in an effort to fight the pandemic and make contributions to building a community of common health for mankind and China-Zimbabwe friendship.

The expert team completes this glorious and sacred mission with full success, which also embodies China’s sincerity and positive contributions to enhancing global anti-epidemic cooperation, illustrates that China has always been responsible for people’s health and life, as well as for the development of global public health.

(Author: The team leader of China’s Anti-COVID-19 Medical Expert Team to Zimbabwe,

Deputy Director-General of Health Commission of Hunan Province)

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