Documentary on Chinese medical aid to Africa causes sensation

By Wang Hailin from People’s Daily-Border for Doctors, a four-episode TV documentary on China’s medical aid to Africa in the past 55 years made a splash after being broadcast on August 19, the first Medical Workers’ Day of China.
The documentary mirrors China’s achievements of medical aid in Africa in a comprehensive manner, and tells the touching stories of Chinese medical workers in Africa who created numerous miracles risking their lives in front of plagues, dangers, and even disasters.
It also presents China’s image as a major country that values friendship and dares to take responsibilities.
The series gained the highest ratings among all television features on its debut day, and so far has been watched for over 80 million times.
The production of the documentary took a year of the film crew who traveled over 50,000 kilometers to 14 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, as well as 9 African countries, according to Li Xinyan, director of China Central Television’s international channel.
The documentary was finished upon interviews of more than 100 people, including senior Chinese diplomats, incumbent ambassadors to African countries, medical team members in Africa and their relatives, African leaders, African residents and patients, Li said.
China’s medical aid to Africa can be traced back to April 1963, when the first 13 Chinese medical workers were sent to Saida, Algeria. In the following half century, tens of thousands of doctors from China have been consecutively dispatched to other countries, offering medical services for more than 200 million patients.

“Thanks for your hard work. Thank you, China,” a Liberian Ebola patient says in the documentary after recovery. A young patient Robert, who has also been cured, is dancing happily with the medical staff on the screen.


Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com