Zimbabwe is very grateful for the practical advice and suggestions it received from a visiting team of Chinese medical experts and will use such knowledge in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Monday.
Speaking at a farewell ceremony for the team, Mutsvangwa said the solidarity from China at a time when the country continues to suffer from Western sanctions was commendable.
“We want to thank you so much for what you have been doing to make sure that Zimbabwe feels that it is not alone. We are a small economy. With the impact of illegal sanctions on our country, it will not be possible for Zimbabwe to go through this alone,” Mutsvangwa said.
She said the country’s inter-ministerial taskforce on COVID-19, as well as local medical professionals, benefited immensely from the two-week exchange program.
The country looks forward to continuous engagement and knowledge sharing with China on how to fight the pandemic, she said.
“The visit is a pure demonstration of the deep relations between Zimbabwe and China. We were lucky as Zimbabwe to have had this opportunity to get this team of 12 Chinese specialists who were actually in the forefront in China dealing with COVID-19 being in our country. We will certainly make use of their advice and suggestions to make sure that we continuously take interventions which protect the lives of people in our country,” she said.
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care John Mangwiro said the visit was an important milestone in the further strengthening of health cooperation between Zimbabwe and China.
Zimbabwean health professionals and government officials benefited from knowledge about the virus and how to contain it using meager resources, he said.
“We learnt a lot. They taught us the anatomy of the virus, the physiology, the treatment and the usage of Western and traditional Chinese medicine. All those were very relevant,” the deputy minister said.
He said Zimbabwe is keen to make sure the exchange program becomes a permanent arrangement in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Zimbabwe also sending its medical staff to learn from China’s experiences.
“The exchange program must be on a continuous basis which should not end with the virus. It must continue forever because medicine is an exchange of knowledge and ideas,” he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said the exchange program symbolized win-win health cooperation between the two countries.
He said China shall stand by Zimbabwe until the pandemic is over.
“When faced with the COVID-19 pandemic as a major global health challenge, I would like to say that Zimbabwe will never walk alone. The Chinese government and its people will always stand firmly with Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We would also like to keep up the momentum on trade and cooperation between China and Zimbabwe because we are fully aware that a functioning economy is vital to fighting against COVID-19,” he said.
During its two-week mission, the team visited four provinces in the country and toured hospitals and health facilities to share knowledge and experience in fighting the pandemic.
They also donated medical equipment and supplies to some of the hospitals that they visited.
Zhu Yimin, leader of the Chinese medical team, said their visit was a fruitful and memorable experience.
“During our two-week stay, we had a chance to exchange ideas and based on what we saw, what we learnt and combined with our experiences in COVID-19, we proposed recommendations for COVID-19 control and prevention. We really hope that the recommendations will be of help to Zimbabwe in dealing with COVID-19,” Zhu said.
He commended Zimbabwe’s efforts in dealing with the pandemic, noting that the achievements were being made with limited resources.
Zimbabwe has to date recorded 56 cases of COVID-19, including 23 recoveries and four deaths.