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Chinese In Africa? – Angola Day 30


“你们为什么在非洲?”是因为我们在这里工作!Twice this month I enjoyed caring for patients from China here at CEML Hospital. It’s an understatement that they express surprise to hear their native language spoken by a North American on location in southern Africa. The even greater surprise may be that they are even here to begin with, and here by the thousands. China’s industrial presence is great throughout Angola, where their companies have built and rebuilt roads, railroad, and massive housing complexes.


What implications does this have for we international health professionals? For one, it’s a reminder of the global mixing of cultures, peoples and expectations with whom we are privileged to interact – and a reminder of the crucial importance our cross-cultural skills. This phenomenon is also a stimulus to our health service planning, that we have capacity to accommodate the unique needs of diverse people who would benefit from our assist. The health needs of Chinese here may be significantly different from rural Angolans. For example, they are at risk for Japanese encephalitis – a disease unknown among southern Africans.


Finally, this influx of Chinese is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate interest, friendliness and at times merciful compassion towards these foreigners traversing what for them is often an extremely challenging life transition.


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