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Ethiopian official commends Chinese lifesaving medical assistance

By Xinhua | August 21st 2020
Jibril Abas, Chinese built Tirunesh Beijing Hospital Chief Executive Officer is seen at the hospital on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Aug 17, 2020. (Xinhua Michael Tewelde)

Chinese medical assistance is helping save the lives of many Ethiopians, an Ethiopian official said on Monday.

Speaking to Xinhua, Jibril Abas, CEO of Trunesh Beijing Hospital, said the medical facility located in the southern outskirts of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa has been able to give lifesaving medical treatment because of Chinese medical assistance.

"Being located on the outskirts of the city, the majority of our cases are trauma patients requiring highly sophisticated surgeries," said Abas.

"We've been discussing with the Chinese government and other stakeholders to increase the capacity of the hospital in order to be able to treat these patients especially with orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery rehabilitative and palliative cares," Abas told Xinhua.

Abas said Chinese medical assistance to Tirunesh Beijing Hospital extends to plans to construct additional medical facilities to deal with the increasing cases of traffic and workplace accidents in Ethiopia.

"There are ongoing works in the building of a trauma center in the hospital," said Abas.

"There are also pledges from the Chinese side amounting to 50 million Ethiopian Birr (1.37 million U.S. dollars) comprising of highly sophisticated equipment such as computerized tomography scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and neurosurgical cables which are highly expensive and not available in the market. This is the area of cooperation we're planning when we are already going through with at current time," said Abas.

Named after a famous long-distance Ethiopian runner, Tirunesh Dibaba, a double gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Tirunesh Beijing Hospital's links to China extend a decade.

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Members of a Chinese medical team pose for a photo upon their arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 16, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shoubao)

Tirunesh Beijing Hospital also alternatively referred as the Ethio-China Friendship was built with Chinese funds and currently provides specialized medical services to patients from all across Ethiopia.

The hospital has also housed successive teams of Chinese medical teams which have given much admired free medical services ranging from neurosurgery to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

With Ethiopia battling the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed more than 500 lives and infected close to 30,000 people in the country, the services of Chinese medical volunteers have been sought after by the Ethiopian government, with Tirunesh Beijing Hospital playing a facilitative role for the functions of the 21st batch of Chinese medical team.

"We have a Chinese medical team which has stayed here for a year. The 16 members are highly educated and specialized professionals which we wouldn't have had in our hospital otherwise," Abas told Xinhua.

As part of the Chinese government's continued support to Ethiopia's public health sector which started in 1974, the 21st batch Chinese medical team arrived in the east African country last year.

The current Chinese medical team consisting of 16 medical specialists including those with neurology, neurosurgery, cardiology and dentistry specialty.

Notable among the previous Chinese medical personnel in Ethiopia is the deceased doctor Mei Gengnian, who led the first Chinese medical mission to Ethiopia more than 40 years ago.

Mei Gengnian died in 1975 in a car accident while he was serving local communities in Jimma town of Ethiopia's Oromia regional state, where he was still remembered and receiving homage from local community members. 

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