China's best hospital stresses international cooperation amid COVID-19
World Insight with Tian Wei

The World Health Organization has warned that a new wave of COVID-19 might hit if countries drop their guard. With China successfully holding its annual political meetings, the country is sending a signal of the significant progress it has made in the arduous battle against the new coronavirus when other countries and regions are still facing daily infection spikes.

Could the country seize the opportunity to improve its overall emergency warning and reporting system? What will it take to improve international cooperation in warding off possible coronavirus resurgence and future infectious diseases? The Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) has become a bastion of international cooperation, and CGTN host Tian Wei spoke to PUMCH Vice President Professor Zhang Shuyang on the significance of international cooperation at a time of dramatic geopolitical changes.

Dr. Zhang led the hospital team to Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, to save lives and stayed there from January to May 2020.

During that time, her team played an instrumental role, taking charge of the intensive care units for COVID-19 patients. Their task was to receive most critical patients transferred from other medical facilities.

"Our first shift immediately began just six hours after our team arrived in Wuhan. At that time, the virus and disease were still 'the enemy in the shadow.' There was too much on my mind. I needed to make a good balance between saving critical patients while protecting our team members. The majority of team members were junior faculty, and I saw them as family. I needed to bring them back safely. So we were fighting for patients, and at the same time, I was also fighting for them," said Zhang.

Both as a frontline doctor and top management member of the most well-known Chinese hospital, Zhang is a top scientist and a researcher. Amid the global emergency, finger-pointing by some politicians in the world makes people worry about the prospect of international cooperation both in clinical practices and medical research.

Dr. Zhang is straightforward about the significance of international cooperation in nurturing medical talents and saving lives worldwide when a pandemic hit. She led CGTN's host through the history of PUMCH, and said that should be the inspiration for answers today about international cooperation.

She said the Peking Union Medical College Hospital was founded by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1921. It was the time when medical education reform took place in the United States. PUMCH was given the same training and medical system as that of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Many pioneers in the field of medicine in China were nurtured at PUMCH. It was the cradle of the development of Chinese modern medicine. Zhang said the hospital itself is a crystallization of international cooperation.

Opportunities have been provided by PUMCH to participate in international collaborative programs or receive training overseas. Regarding international cooperation, Zhang presented her personal experience as an example.

She had post-doctoral training for four years at Ochsner Foundation Hospital in the United States, which made her an outstanding expert in the field when she came back to China and served her patients at PUMCH. Zhang was appointed as the vice chief of the department of cardiology after she returned to China.

"I had introduced and applied most advanced technologies and concepts that I learned back in the United States. Almost all the departments have international connections with global partners. Last February, I remember clearly, on behalf of China, on the International Rare-Disease Day, I introduced the progress that China has made in recent years in fields of the rare diseases research and treatment and exchanges with international colleagues."

She once again emphasized, "We learn from each other, I believe this is the best way. And this is the only way."

World Insight with Tian Wei is an international platform for debate and intelligent discussion. It is the meeting point of both the highly influential and rising voices, facilitated by host, Tian Wei. It provides nutrition to form your own thoughts and ideas through 45-minute live debate and interviews.

Schedule: Monday-Saturday

Time (GMT): 1415, 2015

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