by Luis Brito and Wu Hao
SANTO DOMINGO, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- After the four-hour surgery performed by doctors on the Chinese hospital ship "Peace Ark," Santa Tejedo, 62, would be able to walk without the pain she had been suffering for a year due to a massive leg lipoma.
Following the surgery, a doctor showed her the tumor they had removed, and it was so big, said Tejedo, who lives in the capital Santo Domingo.
The hospital ship, part of China's naval fleet, sailed into the port of the capital city last week on a medical mission, named "Harmony 2018," which was launched in June to send the ship to over 10 countries on different continents.
The floating hospital features eight operating rooms, 300 hospital beds, a helicopter ambulance, over 2,500 medical instruments and a variety of specialized medical departments.
After the operation on Friday, Tejedo had no more pain when moving her leg and was looking forward to resuming her normal activities, though her doctor said full recovery will take about three months.
"I am very grateful because I will no longer suffer the pain. They attended to me wonderfully and everything went great," she said.
The ship's 120 doctors can treat a range of ailments, including gallstones, a common disease in the Dominican Republic, especially among women, according to medical experts.
Estefany is one of those women suffering from gallstones. She recounted how the gallstones had caused her to double over in pain over the past three months, even as she cared for her newborn.
A local hospital brought the mother of three to the ship for further treatment.
The ship's free medical services are part of China's bilateral cooperation with the Caribbean nation in the field of health, after the two countries established diplomatic ties in May.
On the ship's first day in the port, the Chinese crew met with Dominican officials to discuss opportunities for cooperation in human resources training and scientific exchanges.
As soon as the hospital ship opened its doors, hundreds of Dominicans came for medical treatment.
Carmelina came with her son Wilfer in her arms. The child suffers from microcephaly and cannot walk.
"We need to have medical tests for his therapy but I cannot afford them," said the 30-year-old single mother who is unemployed.
In the department of traditional Chinese medicine, Venero, a 56-year-old butcher, was undergoing acupuncture on his right elbow to relieve the pain from a blow. Nearby, a woman unable to lift her arm was having cupping therapy on her back.
According to the Dominican health ministry, China's hospital ship will benefit at least 2,000 people before its departure on Wednesday.