On Feb.24, 2020, pharmacy workers of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hospital in Duchang county, Jiujiang, east China’s Jiangxi province make sachets for aromatherapy. To combat the novel coronavirus pneumonia, Duchang county gives play to its advantages in TCM, recommending TCM prescriptions, promoting TCM treatment and distributing free sachets to local residents. (Photo by Fu Jianbin, People’s Daily Online)
On Feb.24, 2020, pharmacy workers of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hospital in Duchang county, Jiujiang, east China’s Jiangxi province make sachets for aromatherapy. To combat the novel coronavirus pneumonia, Duchang county gives play to its advantages in TCM, recommending TCM prescriptions, promoting TCM treatment and distributing free sachets to local residents. (Photo by Fu Jianbin, People’s Daily Online)

By Tafara Mugwara, Zhang Yuliang

The Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture Center, the first of its kind to open in the country, was inaugurated Friday in the capital Harare.

Speaking through a video conference platform at the official opening of the center at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Zimbabwe’s Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga said the new center will complement Zimbabwe’s health care system.

“Experience has shown that including traditional Chinese medicine in a health care protocol improves outcome for patients, for example, traditional Chinese medicine can provide good support to patients who suffer from some conditions, particularly those that are chronic and degenerative, for example, low back pain,” he said.

“I am therefore confident that the new facilities here at the hospital will radically improve the quality of service and infrastructure for patients and staff both in the immediate future and in the years to come,” Chiwenga said.

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said the opening of the center marks a new chapter of cooperation in the health sector between China and Zimbabwe.

Guo said cooperation between the two countries in the field of public health demonstrates the mutual desire to promote the China-Africa community with a shared future between the two sides.

“Under the framework of building a community of common health for both China and Africa, China and Zimbabwe will be campaigning to strengthen cooperation on health and give full play to the unique advantages of TCM,” he said through a video conference platform.

Guo said despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides managed to complete construction of the center successfully.

“This is another outcome of our joint efforts to promote the health of Zimbabwean people and has shown the determination of Chinese and Zimbabwean people to enhance health cooperation and to fight against COVID-19 together,” he said.

Guo said in the future, the center will become a TCM medical institution with full diagnosis and treatment capacities.

Speaking to the media, Director of Pathological Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Maxwell Hove said the opening of the clinic was a very important development for Zimbabwe’s healthcare system.

“This is a very important development for us, that we have a place where our patients can have their pain relieved without being operated, without going into invasive procedures. Even if we have a shortage of medicine, a shortage of analgesic pharmaceuticals then we know there is an alternative place where they can go and have their pain relieved,” he said.

In an interview with Xinhua, Director for Traditional Complementary and Integrative medicine in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Onias Ndoro said China’s traditional health care system provides valuable lessons to Zimbabwe.

“We are already in the process of trying to standardize our traditional medicine practices and products so this is an opportunity for us to learn and improve our practices,” Ndoro said.

The establishment of the new TCM center follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and Zimbabwe on cooperation in the field of TCM and acupuncture.

Zimbabwe and China share a long history of cooperation in the health sector. Since 1985, China has dispatched 17 medical teams to Zimbabwe.

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