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Chinese therapy offers a beacon of hope to ailing Namibians

WINDHOEK-For a long time, Bomon Bowan endured severe pain. As a result, he could no longer walk and lost his job. And each time he went to a local hospital, nurses prescribed pain killers, providing only temporary relief.
A month back, he sought help at the acupuncture department at Katutura State Hospital in Namibia's capital, Windhoek.
The department offers acupuncture treatment, Tuina, cupping, and Chinese herb external application as well as other traditional Chinese medicine methods. Since 1996, China has been sending medical teams to Namibia, consisting of two traditional Chinese medicine professionals and two nurses.
Today, following a successful acupuncture treatment, the 25-years-old Bowan, face alight in bright, beams in hope.
"When I came to the acupuncture clinic, the Chinese doctors put me on a seven-day treatment. In a short period, I am back on my feet again. The treatment helped a lot," said Bowan.
Bowan is not the only one accorded a second chance to a healthy and fruitful life.
The acupuncture department in Windhoek has become a beacon of hope for many Namibians.
Hilma Isak, 48, was thwarted by persistent ankle pain. The kindergarten schoolteacher resorted to traditional Chinese medicine after a referral by her cousin.
"Before I came here, I couldn't walk, but with acupuncture, I am now able to walk," Isak said.
Chu Hailin, a doctor at Katutura State Hospital, is part of the 12th batch of the Chinese medical team dispatched to Namibia in June 2018.
"The acupuncture, massage, cupping, and other traditional Chinese medicine methods have been widely used here, achieving remarkable results," according to Chu. The acupuncture department has also been instrumental in complementing broader health care services provided by the Namibian Government.
"The domestic hospitals are relatively sub-disciplinary, and the corresponding diseases such as acupuncture and massage are limited. Therefore, the biggest feeling here is that knowledge and skills can be fully utilized to help patients. I am delighted to relieve the pain," Chu said.
However, locals have not always been keen on acupuncture.
In the beginning, according to Chu, most locals were unsusceptible to the ancient Chinese treatment method due to a lack of understanding.
"Some people thought that acupuncture needles carry medicine, and after the medicine is soaked, the cupping pot has medicine. Their concept is that drug treatment is at work, whereas acupuncture and moxibustion is a non-drug therapy," Chu explained.
Like most Namibians, Isak was once skeptical about trying acupuncture treatment as she did not understand it well.
"I was distrustful to try acupuncture. But I figured I have nothing to lose. And now my health has improved," Isak said.
The credible reputation, however, follows hard work and extensive education given to patients during consultations, which also accorded the Chinese medical doctors a chance to demystify myths related to medical and health notions.
"This entailed us promoting the norms of Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion such as aseptic operation, diagnostic specifications, and treatment specifications to enhance understanding domestic to Namibia. The local hospitals have a new understanding of us," Chu added.
Today, locals opt and trust traditional Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture, which is a popular form of therapy that pain-patients have embraced.
For Isak, having traveled more than 800 kilometers to Windhoek for treatment, said after acupuncture was administered to her for the fourth time, she can tell a tale of success.
"The Chinese doctors are outstanding and effective, and it is evident that the treatment works as I can testify," Isak added.
As the news spread, the patients at the department are now in a constant stream. The acupuncture department attends to 70 patients on average daily and about 100 patients on hectic days. As of September this year, the 12th batch of the Chinese medical team has treated 18,816 patients since last June.
Juliet Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services in Namibia lauded the Chinese doctors for the extension of the health services and strengthened cooperation in the globalized world with countries such as Namibia.
"The country and its people appreciate the cooperation and investment by China and in the health sector, which has aided to improved provision health care in Namibia," Kavetuna said.
The Namibian health sector is one of the areas that has benefited immensely from robust China-Namibia bilateral relations over the years。

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