Hospital ship lends a helping hand

Updated: 2013-07-10 07:58

By Peng Yining (China Daily)

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A day in the life

Zhang Lanmei, a 50-year-old gynecologist aboard the Peace Ark, has 30 years' experience at the General Hospital of the Chinese Navy. This is her first voyage with the Chinese hospital ship.

July 3, 2013

5:30 am: Rose and dressed in the cabin she shares with other five doctors.

6:30 am: Departed the vessel along with 11 other medical professionals at the port of Male. Took a bus to the ferry terminal, followed by a 15-minute trip on a speedboat to the island airport. After a 45-minute flight, Zhang again boarded a speedboat.

9:30 am: Arrived at Villingili island's only hospital and prepared for work.

10 am: Began to receive patients. Most of the female patients complained of menstrual problems, and some couples had difficulty conceiving. There is no gynecologist on the island, and the facilities are old and limited. The ultrasonic scanner didn't work very well, so Zhang used equipment she had brought from the Peace Ark. "Most people have limited knowledge about health issues," she said. "It will take a long time to change the situation, but I will give as much help as possible in one day."

00:30 pm: Ate a hasty lunch of fried fish and noodles with the other doctors at a small local restaurant.

1 pm: Returned to the hospital. Dozens of patients were lined up in front of Zhang's consulting room. She informed a pregnant woman she is expecting twins. Another patient was diagnosed with kidney stones.

6 pm: Finished work, having seen more than 40 patients. "There were still a lot of people waiting," said Zhang. "I really wish we could have stayed longer. On a visit a few days ago, the doctors spent the night in the village so they could see as many patients as possible."

7 pm: After a short tea break, the team arrived at the airport. No time for dinner.

11 pm: Arrived back at the ship and began to prepare for the next day's work.

Next stop: The Gulf of Aden

Ju Zhenhua contributed to this story.

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