Gabonese doctor recalls solidarity in China's COVID-19 fight
Having worked in China for 17 years, Jean Christian Nzengue has witnessed China rolling out a nationwide mobilization in the face of a raging epidemic on more than one occasion.
The 46-year-old doctor from Gabon works at Clifford Hospital in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, as a thoracic, cardiac and breast surgery specialist.
When SARS broke out in 2002, Nzengue was a medical student in China. Looking back, he believes the experience gained from battling SARS contributed to China's decisive acts to contain COVID-19.
"The government had developed basic strategies during the SARS epidemic, which became the solid base for the country to use in the COVID-19 outbreak. It's amazing and they did a very good job."
In January at the early stage of the outbreak, Nzengue and his family, like other residents in the city, received text messages from the government advising them to stay at home and avoid visiting others.
"They applied to every citizen, both Chinese and foreigners living in the country, which were effective and protected everyone," said Nzengue.
The fact that these instructions were widely heeded by the public helped slow the spread of the disease, Nzengue said, giving credit to the Chinese public who moved quickly to wear masks and obey social distancing regulations to protect themselves and others.
As a doctor, Nzengue also played his role by propagating anti-virus knowledge among his patients and friends and was impressed by the positive response.
"There were only four steps to follow: take your temperature, wear a mask, wash your hands and stay at home. Everyone listened, because everyone was aware of the situation," he said.
"The government doesn't work by itself. It works with its people. We have to unite hand in hand to fight COVID-19."
In April, Nzengue joined a volunteer team to advise on epidemic control measures at international kindergartens and schools and make cartoon videos to acquaint children with self-protection knowledge.
Polyglot Nzengue drew strength from his familiarity with French, English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Cantonese. "I learned those languages in college from my classmates, who came from all over the world... so as a volunteer, I can talk with children who don't speak Chinese," he said.
Nzengue's brother works in Beijing, where new COVID-19 cases were reported in recent days. This time, Nzengue was unfazed. "The Chinese are always doing good under those conditions. I believe the situation will be very well controlled." Enditem