BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- After returning home from Zimbabwe in January, Sun Shuang is still in contact with her colleagues and patients in the African country, as she has developed a close bond with the people there during her medical assistance mission that lasted for over a year.

Sun, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) expert in respiratory diseases from central China's Hunan Province, was dedicated to the anti-COVID-19 work in Zimbabwe and the operation of the Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Center. "It was a challenging yet fulfilling experience," she said.

Sun is one of the many Chinese medical workers who have done their part in answering China's call for international cooperation in the wake of COVID-19.

With the vision of building a global community of health for all, China has proven itself a friend in need by sharing treatment experiences, offering medical supplies, and promoting cooperation in vaccines amid the global anti-virus fight.

OFFERING TIMELY AID

During the early stage of the pandemic in Zimbabwe, just like elsewhere around the world, little was known about this virus, and panic was not uncommon. Sun visited Zimbabwe in May 2020 as a member of a Chinese medical expert team to assist in the anti-virus fight. In September, she arrived in the country again as a part of the 18th Chinese medical team in Zimbabwe.

Her stay in the country has left her with many deep memories. She recalled that on a night in February 2021, she and her colleagues arrived at the home of a COVID-19 patient with severe symptoms such as breathing difficulties. They immediately arranged a China-donated ventilator which saved the man from the dangerous situation.

"The next day, we prepared some TCM for him, but none of his family knew how to cook it," Sun said. "So I cooked the herbs and gave the decoction to the patient's wife, and he felt even better after drinking the medicine."

Chinese medical workers' timely assistance has helped many countries through the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In Iraq, Chinese medical experts helped establish a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) laboratory in March 2020. With Chinese donations of nucleic acid test kits and other equipment, the lab significantly increased the urgently needed nucleic acid detection capacity in the country.

In Cambodia, netizens created a video clip dedicated to the Chinese medical experts who came to aid the country's anti-virus fight. Using the melody of a famous Chinese folk song, the video clip read with Cambodian lyrics: "Thank you! Thank you so much, my beloved Chinese relatives."

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, China has sent 38 medical expert teams to 34 countries to fight COVID-19 and supported more than 180 countries and international organizations with its treatment protocols and containment strategies.

NARROWING IMMUNIZATION GAPS

China has also been playing an active role in closing the vaccination gap, making contributions to promoting the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries.

In Egypt, factories of the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) have been working nonstop to manufacture Chinese COVID-19 vaccines.

Under an agreement between VACSERA and Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac signed in April 2021, the Chinese company's vaccines are locally manufactured in Egypt, with the final product carrying the names of both companies. More than 40 million doses have been jointly produced.

This year, the two sides further strengthened cooperation by launching a cold storage facility for vaccine storage and preservation in September. The fully-automated storage facility, with a capacity of storing up to 150 million doses of vaccines, is expected to be the largest of its kind in Africa.

Heba Wali, the chairperson of VACSERA, described the cooperation between the two companies as a journey of success, saying it was a new milestone in China-Egypt anti-pandemic cooperation.

The chairman and CEO of Sinovac, Yin Weidong, said the company has offered over 20 African countries its CoronaVac vaccine. It has supplied more than 1.1 billion doses of the vaccine overseas in total, either in the form of finished products or semi-finished products for localized production.

Besides Egypt, the company has also been cooperating with partners in countries such as Brazil, Chile, Algeria, and Indonesia for localized production of vaccines. By localizing the production, a massive production capacity is possible within a short period, thus increasing the accessibility and affordability of the Chinese vaccine in these countries, according to Yin.

Statistics show that China has offered over 120 nations and international organizations 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

GLOBAL RECOGNITION

China's contribution to the global fight against COVID-19 has been winning acclaim worldwide.

Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said China's partnership with countries such as Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco provided the continent with alternative sources of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly at the height of the pandemic in the middle of 2021.

The partnership has enabled the continent to have the vaccines locally, hence reducing the need for the transportation of vaccines from outside the continent, he said.

Abbas Zaki, a Palestinian Fatah Central Committee member and commissioner for relations with Arab countries and China, said China has sent medical teams and donated supplies to many Arab countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He added it "vividly embodied the concept of a China-Arab community with a shared future."

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, said China made massive contributions to the protection of rights to life and health around the world by sending medical experts and providing medical supplies, equipment, and vaccines to help countries combat COVID-19. Enditem

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