Tunisian president inaugurates new hospital built with Chinese aid

Source: Xinhua| 2020-12-11 03:26:20|Editor: huaxia

Tunisian President Kais Saied (R5)and Chinese Ambassador to Tunisia Zhang Jianguo (R3) as well as other Tunisian officials attended the inauguration ceremony for a new hospital built with Chinese aid in Sfax, Tunisia, Dec. 10, 2020. (Tunisian Presidency/Handout via Xinhua)

The China-funded new hospital in Tunisia's Sfax Province, the largest Chinese aid project in the North African country, will be turned into a national center for care and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

TUNIS, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Tunisian President Kais Saied inaugurated on Thursday the new university hospital in southeastern Tunisia's Sfax Province which has been constructed with Chinese financial aid.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by China's Ambassador to Tunisia Zhang Jianguo, Tunisian Defense Minister Ibrahim Bartagi, Minister of Health Faouzi Mehdi as well as two delegations representing the two countries.

This photo taken on Dec. 10, 2020 shows the newly-constructed hospital in Tunisia's Sfax Province, built with China's aid. (Xinhua/Adel Ezzine)

Upon arriving at the new hospital, Saied attended a video-presentation on the construction of the hospital, before visiting its various departments which include the intensive care unit, the neurology and emergency departments.

The Tunisian leader underlined the importance of this project, noting that it "which will only strengthen and guarantee the right of Tunisians to health, which remains one of the most important human rights."

He expressed gratitude to China for its aid and support to Tunisia, vowing that "we will work together with our Chinese friends to carry out many megaprojects that will meet the aspirations of Tunisians."

Tunisian Minister of Health Faouzi Mehdi (R) and Chinese Ambassador to Tunisia Zhang Jianguo sign an agreement on the delivery of a new hospital built with Chinese aid in southeastern Tunisia's Sfax Province, in Tunis, Tunisia, Dec. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Adel Ezzine)

This new hospital will be transformed into a national center for the care and treatment of COVID-19 patients, which will be under the supervision of the National Directorate of Military Health, under the Ministry of Defense, Saied told reporters.

"The Sfax hospital is the largest Chinese aid project in Tunisia," the Chinese ambassador said at the ceremony.

Zhang said that Tunisia and China "have always had, since the establishment of diplomatic relations 56 years ago, relations based on mutual respect."

"Thanks to the combined efforts of the two sides, which has continuously strengthened mutual trust and cooperation in the economic and commercial fields and exchanges of human resources, several fields have recorded encouraging results," he said.

Photo taken on March 21, 2020 shows Lei Xiaozhen (R2), an obstetrician of the 24th Chinese medical team in the Hospital of Sidi Bou Zid in Tunisia, talks with local doctors about a patient' condition. The Chinese team continues its work despite the COVID-19 pandemic. China has sent medical teams to aid Tunisia since 1973. (Xinhua)

"The year 2020 is a special year," Zhang said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic which threatens the health and well-being of all peoples of the world and has negative effects on the economic and social development of various countries.

"We have to strengthen solidarity and cooperation to fight this pandemic," he said.

The Tunisian National Directorate of Military Health said that the construction of this hospital, which covers an area of about 26,000 square meters, started in December 2016.

Built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the largest construction company in China and one of the 500 most powerful companies in the world, the hospital has the capacity 246 beds.