Feature: Chinese volunteers link doctors from different countries to combat COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-18 13:34:30|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, June 18 (Xinhua) -- It is midnight Tuesday in Spain. Liu Runhan, a Chinese student pursuing a doctorate degree in Medical Translation in Madrid, is still busy working as a volunteer.

Although her studies have been suspended three months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu has been more occupied than ever since she became a member of the Global Volunteer Alliance (GVA) against COVID-19.

The work takes up her study time, but Liu is happy to do it.

"This is important work. China offers its help when the world needs China," she said.

The GVA, which was set up and organized by Chinese residents in Spain and other countries, now includes over 1,300 doctors and 200 volunteers.

According to Li Chengcheng, one of the founders of the alliance at the start of March, many Spanish doctors wanted to speak to their Chinese counterparts to learn their experience of working with infected patients.

"The first communication group between doctors began on March 15 and at first it was just a platform for Chinese and Spanish doctors to communicate," said Li.

After this platform was set up, the Hospital Clinic Barcelona, one of the most important public hospitals in Spain, became the first hospital to benefit and soon the chiefs of 14 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Catalonia also asked the platform for help.

"Thanks to this, my colleagues and I were able to get into immediate contact with Chinese doctors and experts right at the beginning of the health crisis. Now that the situation is improving, the words I wants to give to the alliance are 'Thank you,'" said Josep Maria Campistol, the Director and CEO of the Hospital Clinic Barcelona.

Li recalled that after setting up the platform, they received a lot of questions from Spanish doctors. The GVA volunteers were busy translating almost all the time, only snatching three to four hours sleep during the busiest period of the crisis.

In the past three months, Chinese doctors have responded online to the questions asked by Spanish doctors, so the physical distance between the two countries hasn't been a problem.

Medical translation needs a high level of professional knowledge, with every question and answer being rigorously revised by the volunteers.

"The volunteers from the different groups take turns in front of the computer, the complete process requires numbering, translating, correcting and revising questions, which are then sent to a WeChat group of the Chinese doctors to answer and their answers also have to be translated and revise ... Sometimes it will take the whole night to confirm some technical terms," explained Li.

"Although the work is very hard, it is good to know that we can help a doctor to save more lives," she added.

Zhao Lei, the Sub-Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases in Wuhan Union Hospital was one of the first doctors to confront the novel coronavirus in Wuhan and also one of the first to join the platform.

On March 15, when the last patient was released from his hospital, Zhao immediately began to share his experience with doctors from other countries.

"The new coronavirus is something we have never seen before and the only way to learn about it was through work," he explained, voicing hope that his experience could help save time for Spanish doctors.

"This is something that is life-saving," he said.

As the pandemic continues to spread around the world, doctors from other countries also want to participate in the forum. Starting between China and Spain, the forum has evolved into a global alliance.

Apart from replying to over 550 questions, the volunteers have also taken part in eight online seminars.

"Many volunteers don't know each other, but they are cooperating with each other day and night. Now we are not just helping Spanish doctors, but also doctors from Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We realize the great responsibility this entails," said Li Ya, who is responsible for the communication platform for Spanish-speaking doctors.

Despite difficulties and fatigue, the gratitude shown by foreign doctors makes the volunteers feel their efforts have been worthwhile.

"It has allowed me to see the solidarity of the Chinese people," wrote Spanish doctor Beatriz Beltran in a letter to the GVA. "This pandemic has brought us closer together. Here we have started a relationship and we all support each other and it has been a great help for us facing this situation."

The Hospital Clinic Barcelona recently proposed further cooperation with the GVA to take part in the global exchange of experience in the prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

"This is about caring and love for other people and this solidarity will help humanity defeat any disaster," said Li. Enditem