Vong Nakhon, vice-president of Mittaphab Hospital, Laos' largest public hospital, requested help from a Chinese medical expert team that arrived in the country on May 4 to help Laos' anti-pandemic fight.
"Medical staff in our hospital's COVID-19 isolation wards asked me to request anti-pandemic traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) from China's medical expert team," Vong said when he greeted the team at the Laotian Ministry of Health on May 11.
His special request made Du Yibin, one of the team members and a director of the Yunnan Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine of China, emotional. Du didn't expect that TCM would be accepted, due to its lack of popularity in the country.
This was the second time for Du to be a member of a Chinese medical expert team sent to assist Laos in pandemic prevention and control, as well as the second time for Southwest China's Yunnan province to send medical experts to Laos.
Last year, the expert team brought 200 doses of Chinese herb preparations like Lianhua Qingwen, a kind of TCM that can be used for fevers, cough, and fatigue. Some of the medicine was given to Mittaphab Hospital for COVID-19 prevention and treatment, according to Du.
Laotian medical staff and patients said the medicine was bitter, so not many of them liked it, Du added.
This year, the experts changed their anti-pandemic herbal preparations, hoping to improve their taste.
"The medical team arrived in Laos with a limited amount of medicine, and originally did not plan to donate the first batch to Mittaphab Hospital. Unexpectedly, the medical staff of the hospital heard about the arrival of the Chinese medical team and took the initiative to ask for the medicine," Du said.
The experts found that many isolated patients in designated hospitals were also taking Chinese medicine that their families had sent to them.
This indicates that the efficacy of anti-pandemic TCM has been recognized by doctors and patients and has earned a good reputation. The idea that TCM can treat COVID-19 has reached a consensus among the Laotian people and medical personnel.
In the face of COVID-19, the most widespread global pandemic in a century, the Chinese government has actively promoted international cooperation in TCM to combat the pandemic.