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Chinese, African first ladies aid orphans

2023-06-06  Paheja Siririka

Chinese, African first ladies aid orphans

Chinese first lady professor Peng Liyuan teamed up with the Organisation of African First Ladies through its president, Namibia’s First Lady Monica Geingos, to assist Namibian orphans with medical checkups. 

The event, which took place last week Wednesday, saw more than 100 orphans getting medically checked for diseases at the Namibia Children’s Home in Windhoek. 

“The medical attention that will be administered at the Namibia Children’s Home includes checking the eyes of these children, teeth, skin, spinal cord and for congenital heart diseases,” Yan Runqing, spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Namibia, told New Era before the event. 

He said, to ensure the influence and the success of this event, Chinese doctors have been dispatched to Namibia, especially for these medical checks. 

“We have 10 doctors – seven are from Zhejiang Hospital of Traditional Medicine and the other three from the Children’s Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine,” stated Yan. 

The team of medical experts are specialists in cardiology, paediatrics, somatology, ophthalmology and dermatology.

The Namibia Children’s Hearts Trust in its 2022 report states that there is a high incidence and prevalence of congenital and acquired heart disease among children in Namibia, representing profound morbidity and mortality. 

Congenital heart defects are structural defects that patients are born with. 

The Trust mentions that due to the lack of specialised infrastructure and skilled workforce, children with heart disease (congenital and acquired) were referred to Cape Town for percutaneous interventions, as well as palliative and/or definitive surgery through a public-private outsourcing agreement with Christian Barnard Memorial Hospital in South Africa. 

Professor Peng Liyuan has been a staunch advocate for children’s welfare. 

In the late 2000s, she visited an orphanage in Harare, Zimbabwe, under the guidance of then first lady Grace Mugabe. 

At the centre, Peng said orphans are the most vulnerable members of society, and there is a greater obligation from the community at large to ensure they live in happy environments and get a good quality education. 

The health checkup initiative, themed ‘Warm Children’s Hearts – a China-Africa Joint Action’, is a partnership between the Chinese Embassy in Namibia and the Office of the First Lady of Namibia. 

Namibia’s First Lady Monica Geingos during the opening ceremony yesterday in the capital Windhoek said she is honoured to collaborate with her Chinese counterpart on the initiative that facilitates Chinese medical teams to provide free medical checkups to vulnerable children in Africa. 

“I appreciate [her] for using her voice to amplify the needs of young people. We must ensure that our children are healthy, educated, loved and protected from harm,” said Geingos. 

She added: “I feel very excited. It just reminds me of the kind of potential that effective partnerships bring, and the partnership between the Office of the Chinese First Lady and the Organisation of African First Lady for Development. This is an incredibly powerful and effective partnership. So, I feel excited because it’s a reflection of that incredible partnership we have”. 

Chinese ambassador to Namibia Zhao Weiping said the southwestern African nation shares a special bond with China, as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Chinese government sending medical teams to Africa. 

Gina Martin from Namibia Children’s Home said the initiative has a huge impact on them as an organisation. 

“It has a big impact that helps people who are unable to help themselves medically well. Some of us are not fortunate enough money-wise to get medical check-ups or medical treatment. So, this programme in this event helps us achieve more in life than what is expected,” stated Martin. 


2023-06-06  Paheja Siririka

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