Board a naval ship for health: China's Peace Ark treats hundreds in Tanzania

Li Jiayao

DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- On a cloudy Tuesday Afternoon, Susan Emmanuel Mahaligewi, a mother of four children, walked out of the Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark wearing a broad smile.

"I have undergone free medical check-up conducted by Chinese doctors in the ship and they have told me I have a clean bill of health," said 37-year-old Mahaligewi after disembarking the ship with a length of 178 meters, a beam of 24 meters and a height of 35.5 meters.

"For quite some time I have been through nightmares thinking I was a victim of breast cancer since I started feeling pains in one of my breasts in April this year," she told Xinhua in an interview.

Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark arrived on Sunday morning in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam, starting an eight-day humanitarian mission of providing free medical services to local residents.

Since arrival of the ship, crowds of Tanzanians have swarmed to the Dar es Salaam port and sign up for medical check-ups.

"The visit by the Chinese doctors to provide free medical care is a blessing to me. I have been seeking treatment in various hospitals since April without getting proper diagnosis," said Mahaligewi.

Apart from getting free medical check-ups, Mahaligewi was also given medicines without being charged.

Mahaligewi was among more than 6,000 Tanzanians who have lined up for treatment by the visiting Chinese doctors.

On the same day, a team of about 11 Chinese doctors from the ship visited the Kurasini Children's Home (KCH), a government-owned center established in 1968 to look after abandoned, lost and abused children, where they provided free medical care and donated school bags and toys.

The children wore faces of joy on seeing their Chinese visitors, who also entertained them with Chinese martial arts.

More than 40 of the home's 75 children underwent free medical check-ups and were given free medicines.

Aurelia Michael, a nursing officer at the KCH, told Xinhua that a good number of the children were suffering from malaria, skin diseases, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia and diarrhea.

The nurse thanked the Chinese doctors for their kindness in extending a helping hand to the poor children staying at the home, which is running out of medicines and depends on donations to survive.

"We are very grateful for the visit by the Chinese doctors. Your visit shows how much you love us," said Beatrice Lawrence Mgumio, KCH officer in charge.

The arrival of the Peace Ark, its second visit to the East African country in seven years, was received with much joy.

At the welcome ceremony held at the Dar es Salaam port, Task Group Commander of Peace Ark Guan Bailin said the crew will carry out free medical services, humanitarian assistance and medical training to promote friendly relations and deepen professional exchanges between China and Tanzania.

Tanzania Navy Commander Richard Mutayoba Makanzo thanked China for sending the Peace Ark to Tanzania again.

In 2010-2015, the Peace Ark visited 29 countries and regions in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania. A total 120,000 people received free on-board medical and humanitarian services.

The current tour has taken the ship to Djibouti, Gabon, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Mozambique in Africa, prior to Tanzania.


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