After months of anticipation and a teary farewell with my family at Sydney airport, I arrived in Shanghai, China on the evening of July 25. I was welcomed very warmly by a driver holding my name who uttered the words “Ni hao” upon our introduction. I was driven to my residence which is in Pudong where Lily Hsu, Program Director of the Project HOPE Shanghai Office greeted me warmly. My first dinner in Shanghai was a Domino’s cheesy crust vegetarian pizza – thanks Lily!
The last few days have been spent getting oriented to my local neighborhood and getting to know as much as I can about the fantastic work that Project HOPE is doing in China. I am based at the Project HOPE Shanghai office which is located within the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) complex, and the office is literally a few meters from my apartment. Very convenient indeed!
On Friday July 26th, I had the opportunity to spend time with Leah Bardfield, who had been the PfizerGlobal Health Fellow with Project HOPE for the past three months. The Project HOPE team took Leah and I out for lunch as a farewell to Leah and welcome to me!
Here are some interesting facts I’ve learned over the last few days.
- In 1983, Project HOPE became the first international non-governmental organization to partner with China's Ministry of Health to improve the healthcare system. Project HOPE has partnered with Chinese leadership and its Ministry of Health to address some of the country's most pressing health issues including children's heart defects, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer care, nutrition, epilepsy, senior care and healthcare professional education.
- SCMC recently celebrated its 15th anniversary in June and is China’s most advanced pediatric medical treatment center as well as a national training center for health professionals. The hospital is a collaboration between Project HOPE and Shanghai Second Medical University (on behalf of the Municipal Government of Shanghai) with major support from the U.S. government and more than 100 leading international corporations.
- Through concerted efforts and the support of Project HOPE, SCMC continues to develop rapidly. In 2012, SCMC treated approximately 1.17 million in- and out-patients.
Project HOPE certainly is working steadily towards its mission to achieve sustainable advances in healthcare in China by implementing health education programs and providing humanitarian assistance in areas of need. I am honored to be working with this wonderful NGO and the Project HOPE team for the next three months.
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