226909 China Medical Team in Sudan: A Descriptive Study

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kai Wang , Department of Global Health, University of Washington/Health Alliance International, Seattle, WA
Sarah Gimbel-Sherr, MPH , Health Alliance International, University of Washington, Maputo, Mozambique
Elfatih Malik, MD , Communicable Diseases Control, Federal Ministry of Health Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
Sarah Hassan , General Directorate of Health Planning, Policy and Reseasrch, Federal Ministry of Health Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
Julia Robinson, MPH MSW , Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Health Alliance International, Seattle, WA
Amy Hagopian, PhD , School of Public Health, Dept of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
China has been sending physicians and other health personnel to developing countries as a matter of health diplomacy since 1963.

For this study, we interviewed members of the China Medical Team(CMT) in Sudan, along with their Sudanese counterparts in the hospitals where they serve and the administrators of those facilities. We also searched Chinese literature and governmental websites to describe the history and current distribution of CMTs around the world.

We counted 1,258 Chinese health workers, organized into in 50 CMTs serving 48 countries in 2009. The current 36-member team in Sudan consists of 29 physicians, two nurses, one medical engineer, two translators and two chefs. The average age of physicians is 45 years with 22 years working experience. 12 members are female. We found the most significant challenge health workers described was homesickness, followed by local medical conditions, workload, language, living conditions, salary, and local colleagues' support. Three physicians regretted coming to Sudan, because of family issues. All members said they benefitted from high income, curiosity fulfillment, a friendly medical environment, and being exposed to new approaches. All but two rated their own working performance “good” or “very good,” while their Sudanese colleagues consistently rated them even higher.

Three pillars support this program: sufficient funds, the level of professionalism in the team, and the Sudanese people's hospitality. We found some concerns about the depth of communication between the Chinese and Sudanese health workers. Future success depends on the willingness of younger Chinese doctors to work in Africa.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe China’s health diplomacy program, which sends health workers around the world to serve underserved populations. 2) Analyze the experience of the China medical team in Sudan. 3) Identify the likely future challenges for Chinese health diplomacy.

Keywords: Workforce, International Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Kai Wang, the first author of this poster, agree to let Julia Robinson present this poster for him.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.