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Chinese medical team helps relieve pains in Namibia

WINDHOEK (Xinhua) -- Mara Baumgartener, 61, lies on her stomach on the bed with a hint of a smile, needles protruding from her back.

This has become her routine as the Namibian gets acupuncture therapy two times a week at the Chinese acupuncture department in Katutura State Hospital in Namibian capital, Windhoek.

For Baumgartener, this has been the road to recovery after her back and feet suffered from pain for several years.

“Before acupuncture, there were times that my back hurt so much that I couldn’t get out of my bed,” she told Xinhua during one of her therapy sessions.

To many, medical treatment might seem as a painful procedure, but this has become Baumgartener’s hope to recover.

“Now I know what acupuncture does. It is life changing for me, I’m really good. I will be coming to acupuncture as long as I want to, it really makes difference, because I don’t like pills,” she added.

Baumgartener is one of the many patients in Namibia who have resorted to Chinese acupuncture therapy, according to Chu Hailin, leader of the 12th Chinese medical team to Namibia.

Chu has served in Namibia for the 5th year. He said the therapy that is administered by the Chinese medical team has gained popularity in Namibia since it landed in the country in 1996.

“This department was established in 1996, and since then patients have been increasing over the years as they find this form of traditional Chinese medicine helpful,” he said.

A dedicated team of two doctors run this department that usually handles up to 50 patients on a daily basis. The department does not charge the patients as the treatment is free.

According to Chu, acupuncture is administered to those patients who suffer from a range of ailments which include acute chronic pains, mild pains on the different parts of the body as well as those who would have suffered a stroke and even menstrual pain.

“This form of therapy is effective as it targets the nerves and muscles of those who are in pain, and gives patients relief. The acupuncture is done with different time intervals, some have repeated sessions depending on the severity of the ailments,” he said.

For 58-year-old Ipinge Theopolina who has had problems with her shoulder, back and knees, the acupuncture treatment which she started in January this year has proven to be worth the try.

She had earlier underwent several x-ray scans and the outcome was always good as the results showed there was nothing wrong with her. But this did not take away the pain, recalled Theopolina. 

Although she does not exactly know what caused her limping, Theopolina says the pain has been alleviated ever since she started her acupuncture treatment. “I will continue until I recover completely,” she said.

“The doctors here really helped me a lot because previously my whole body was constantly in pain, but now I can dance again.” she added.

Nurse Cai Xiaoying, wife of Chu Hailin, said that acupuncture does not completely heal but it helps with the rehabilitation.

Every two years, the Chinese government sends a new batch of doctors to replace those who would have finished their tenure. To date the Chinese government has deployed more than 40 doctors and nurses since the first medicine team was sent to Namibia.

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