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    Posted August 19, 2014 by
    Nuku 'alofa, Tonga
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    All Aboard the Peace Ark


    The Chinese ship "Ark Peace", courtesy of China's People's Liberation Army Navy, came to Nuku'alofa this week for five days to provide free medical care to thousands of Tongan residents and international workers complete with 8 operating theaters and the latest in CT scan, x-ray and diagnostic equipment to treat and repair all sorts of ailments. Along with an efficient and courteous staff, it was an experience unique to the Chinese system of medical care. There was even a section devoted to TCM-Traditional Chinese medicine practices such as acupuncture, herbal tinctures and cupping. The wait was long, but having the opportunity to see their highly trained medical personnel in action on one of their many humanitarian voyages was truly amazing (I do have a soft spot for my Chinese friends:))and while there, I got good news about my recent wrist surgery along with advice for physical therapy while being examined after a post-op follow-up visit. Tongans and Chinese nationals worked together as a team to serve Tongans, Americans like me, Chinese and others who live and work in Tonga. Without the ship, many would suffer complications from illnesses left untreated. There were a wide-range of chief complaints, most of which were old injuries or undiagnosed illnesses like pain, swelling, sores that didn't heal, vision and maternity issues.  Although the wait was long, the care I received was excellent, just as I knew it would be from having been to Chinese hospitals during my stay in working in Chongqing. It was also great to feel useful as while waiting I had to translate "pediatrics" and "gynecology" for the Tongans:) who were unfamiliar with these terms. As an aside, I wish more Tongans would try to learn Mandarin as there are so many Chinese nationals working and living here in Tonga. The Chinese here have learned the language of these islands and so it would be neighborly to reciprocate. That's what neighbors should do. There is an enormous amount of aid which comes to Tonga from China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US. And in times like these, none of us can afford to be separatists. Thanks to all medical and naval professionals aboard the Peace Ark and the Chinese government, along with Tongan partners from Vaiola Hospital and the monarchy to bring this ship of help here to the island for the benefit of so many. http://news.usni.org/2014/07/23/peace-ark-onboard-chinas-hospital-ship

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