Chinese doctors’ advice lost in translation

By Adnan Rafique

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani doctors fighting the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic received support in the form of a visiting team of Chinese medical experts. While welcome, the lack of adequate translators means that these experts have been unable to transfer their knowledge to local doctors.
A team of eight Chinese medical experts had arrived in Islamabad over the weekend. They aim to help Pakistan tackle with the Covid-19 pandemic which has so far claimed some 21 lives across the country and positively infected some 1,700 others. These medical experts visited various health centres, quarantine and isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients on Monday. Doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and even nurses huddled around the Chinese experts while maintaining safe distance, keen to share their experiences and learn from their Eastern neighbours on how they managed to control the contagious virus.
But when the Chinese medical experts started conversing, some local medical staff appeared lost, unable to understand what was being said in Chinese. The Chinese medical experts, working in three shifts at different medical facilities in Islamabad, have now approached their embassy to resolve the issue of translators and interpreters.
Meanwhile, talking about the issue, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator and a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum stated that if the government knew about the arrival of the Chinese medical team in advance, why did they not arrange for interpreters to be attached with these visiting doctors so that their knowledge can be transferred to local doctors and maximum lives can be saved.
“People do not know in which direction are we heading and they are asking where is the government,†he said. He appreciated the gesture of Chinese President Xi Jinping of sending the team of medical experts along with medical aid to Pakistan in such difficult conditions. Lt Gen Qayyum added that Islamabad should learn from the Wuhan model to tackle the virus by building larger hospitals, training additional doctors rather than just focussing on procuring and making facemasks.