By Laiyin Yuan
Author: Shao Siyi
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 02/19/2015
Source: Chinese News Service (CNS)
Original text (in Chinese): http://www.chinanews.com/sh/2015/02-19/7073406.shtml
Do not forget those who who are working hard while we enjoyed ourselves celebrating Chinese New Year. A prosperous and auspicious Year of Sheep to Chinese medical personnel working in Africa!
— Laiyin Yuan (Translator)
On February 19 at 3:00 am, when China had already greeted the first day of the Lunar Year of Sheep, Sierra Leone, which is eight hours behind China, was still waiting for the Chinese New Year. After a busy day, Chinese medical team members finally had the chance to celebrate the New Year with some rest, dumplings, and parties. During this all-too-limited leisure time, Xu Feng, the Deputy Director of the Infectious Diseases Department of the Zhejiang University Second Affiliated Hospital (ZUSAH), had a WeChat video call with his family to send his New Year greetings.
In West Africa, “Ebola” is synonymous with death. Many Chinese medical envoys have successfully arrived here to provide health care for the locals. On January 27, the third batch Chinese medical teams departed from Beijing to Sierra Leone, which included Xu Feng and many other ZUSAH doctors.
Prior to his departure, Xu Feng was most worried about his bedridden mother who is gravely ill. Around midnight Sierra Leone time, he tried to call his parents via WeChat video though the Wi-Fi signal was unstable. “I was so relieved when I learned that my mother’s condition was getting better. I also had a brief phone call with my wife, letting her know everything is OK with me,” Xu Feng told our reporter.
Currently, the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone is not yet fully under control, with several new cases every day. As of February 15, Sierra Leone has 8,213 confirmed Ebola cases in total, including 3,036 deaths. Xu Feng, together with more than 100 Chinese medical workers and public health experts in the African-aid program, are fighting Ebola even during Spring Festival. Outdoor work for nine hours, routine meetings at dusk, and work summaries in the evening… the medical workers barely have a moment of rest.
In addition to the intense work, the teams also needed to address the problem of feeding themselves. “In Spring Festival Eve, we made dumplings to celebrate.” Xu Feng expressed that the local green vegetables were rare and expensive, but they managed to have a large dinner with cold dishes such as sausages, preserved meat, shredded kelp, and peanuts.
As the medical workers gradually return to China, Xu Feng has become the only medical team member in Sierra Leone who is from Zhejiang Province. However, this did not dampen his cheery spirits when celebrating Spring Festival. After dinner, the team celebrated with a party, featuring performances from their colleagues and exchanging greetings and blessings as they welcomed the Year of Sheep.
Nonetheless, their work did not stop. After the celebration, Xu Feng continued writing his work summary until late in the night.
In order to save electricity, Xu Feng had to turn off his air conditioner before sleeping in temperatures higher than 35 degrees Celsius [95 degrees Fahrenheit]. After applying insect repellent and turning on the electric mosquito coil, he entered a military mosquito net to sleep. On the first day of the New Year, he will go to the outskirts of Freetown by car with his colleagues, visiting three local health organizations to understand their disease prevention and control.
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