Pavel, a student from Cameroon，is the first, and till now the only African patient to be diagnosed with novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) in China. From confirmation on January 30, to isolation and treatment, till discharge from hospital on February 10,what struck Pavel the most in the unforgettable 12-day-long experience is that “Be it Chinese or foreign nationals, as long as we work together, there’s nothing to be feared in the fight against epidemic.”
The 20-year-old Cameroonian student speaks fluent Chinese and has a Chinese name called “Dong Qichen”. After learning Chinese for two years at the Confucius Institute in Cameroon and the Wenzhou University, he’s now studying at the College of Agriculture of Yangtze University in Jingzhou, Hubei province. He travelled to Wuhan with friends in January and was infected with NCP during his time there. “Soon after my return, I had a fever with a temperature of about 38 degrees centigrade. My teacher was very worried and asked about my condition by phone every one or two hours. I was so moved.”
After being diagnosed with NCP at the Jingzhou Thoracic Hospital of Hubei Province, Pavel had been actively cooperating with treatment. “They took very good care of me in each and every step of treatment! Chinese doctors and nurses are highly professional and dedicated. Regular disinfection, temperature measurement, and check were conducted at the hospital. The isolation ward is clean and tidy, with three meals a day, and a TV. My doctor told me that I’m doing well and there’s no need for worry. My teachers and classmates call me every day. I can also feel that I’m getting better.”
After his nucleic acid test turned negative, on February 10th , Pavel got his discharge record, which was densely packed with medical information, diagnosis, and doctor’s advice. “During my stay in hospital, I learnt about Chinese medical staff’s workload and the pressure on them. Their families and friends are worried about them. However, they are all brave, strong and united. They are extraordinary!” This experience fills Pavel with gratitude and admiration for the Chinese doctors and nurses.
“Can you believe it? The news that I’ve been cured has spread to Cameroon and made headlines! The Cameroonian Embassy in China also issued an announcement about it. I’m a celebrity now.” In Hubei Province alone, there are nearly 3,000 students from Africa, including around 70 from Cameroon. In these days, family members and friends are all concerned about Pavel. “Originally, my family members in Africa were extremely worried. I’ve been telling them that the disease is controllable and curable. In fact, I haven’t felt as much pain this time as I had in Africa before when I was stricken with malaria or typhoid. Believe me, the best doctor for you is yourself, and the best medicine your smile.”
Although he still has to stay in his own dormitory for self-isolation after he left the hospital, Pavel feels relieved. “We all love China deeply and always have firm faith in the Chinese government. Let’s stay patient and optimistic and work together in the same spirit! At the end of the day, the epidemic will be defeated!”
This story was published in People’s Daily, February 20, 2020