Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the 24th Chinese aid medical team to Tunisia has been working at the front-line of epidemic prevention in Tunisia, especially when the first confirmed case was recorded on Mar 3.
On Jan 31, in respond to the call of the team’s leader Li Shihu, the 31 team members donated a total of 23,742 yuan ($3396) to purchase medical supplies for front-line medical workers in Wuhan, China.
When the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Italy kept increasing in February, Tunisia as a neighboring country with close personnel exchanges with Italy knew it needed to be prepared.
The Chinese Embassy to Tunisia organized a working meeting on epidemic prevention and control, and hosted several lectures on epidemic prevention to promote protection measures and guide overseas Chinese to do a good job in epidemic prevention.
At the end of February, as the number of cases in Italy increased rapidly, the medical team issued an emergency notice to further improve the team’s epidemic prevention and control work in Tunisia.
On Mar 2, the Tunisian minister of health announced the first confirmed case in the country. Two hundred and fifty-four patients on board an aircraft with the confirmed case were put in isolation.
The confirmed case was from Italy and his close contacts were under investigation. Up to March 13, a total of 13 cases had been confirmed in Tunisia.
In view of the fact that the Tunisian government had not introduced systemic epidemic prevention and control, the 24th Chinese medical team made several suggestions to the aided hospitals based on Chinese experience. Most of them were adopted.
According to the suggestions, a fever clinic guideline was set up in a conspicuous location in the hospitals to guide fever patients, especially those with fever, cough, or dyspnea, to fully isolate suspicious patients and reduce the risk of cross infection.
Meanwhile, the medical staffs, especially in the respiratory and infection departments, were equipped with adequate protective equipment, and separated from other departments in the hospital.
Medical personnel were required to take a body temperature test at the time of consultation, register a patient’s history of travel abroad and contact with any infected patient, and to ask for imaging examination if necessary during the consultation. If there is a suspected case, the medical staffs are to immediately report, isolate, and register the patient.
In addition, for non-fever clinics, the nurses need to take a body temperature test for each patient. If the body temperature exceeds 37.3 degrees Celsius, the patient should be referred to the fever clinic.
It is also recommended that all medical workers wear masks and wash their hands frequently, and the janitors need to strengthen disinfection in the hospital. The patients with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection or fever in the department should be paid extra attention and registered in time.
"Hundreds of thousands of medical workers and scientists are the force to rely on to win this tough battle," bluntly said the President of a Tunisian hospital, who added: "I am full of confidence in China's epidemic prevention and control work. China can rely on its tens of millions of outstanding medical workers to win this battle. "