Namibia: Chinese Acupuncture a Blessing for Namibians

Windhoek - Many Namibians continue to testify to the benefits of the Chinese Acupuncture treatment offered by Chinese doctors at the Katutura hospital in the capital Windhoek.

Young and old make their way to the clinic where they are offered relief from their ailments ranging from joint pains, neck pains, leg pains, menstrual pains and paralysis caused by diseases such as stroke.

Yu Jiwei, head of the Chinese Acupuncture department at Katutura intermediate hospital said that every month there are between 500 and 600 patients. Some of them are new patients while others go there for follow-up treatment.

He said that the treatment is helpful for various ailments especially those that are related to the joints. "Acupuncture treatment is effective for alleviating pain and for people who want to quit smoking or drinking alcohol," Yu told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The treatment, according to him, is effective for most patients but cautions that it is always better for people to start treatment early, especially stroke patients.

For acute pains a patient would need to be treated once or twice before they feel the relief, explained Yu.

For 40-year old Secilia Kapempa who has had problems with her legs, back and knees since 2005, the acupuncture treatment which she started in February this year has proven to be worth the try.

She had earlier underwent several x-ray scans and the outcome was always good as the results showed there was nothing wrong with her. But this did not take away the pain, recalled Kapempa.

Last year, Kapempa was referred to more advanced scans and it was discovered that there was something wrong with her ligaments, she said. "I can't really explain it because the doctor did not tell me what exactly is wrong with me," she explains.

Although she does not exactly know what caused her limping, Kapempa says the pain has been alleviated ever since she started her acupuncture treatment. "I will continue until I recover completely," she said.

"The doctors here really helped me a lot because my whole body was constantly in pain and I was tired all the time," she says.

Loide Sylvanus, a 38-year old woman first started acupuncture treatment in 2005. "My whole body was paralysed," she said. After acupuncture treatment, things turned much better even though she has of late been experiencing symptoms of fatigue.

"I came back for further treatment because I know the benefits of this Chinese treatment," she said.

Her treatment takes about 20 to 30 minutes daily and she has to endure needles inserted in her body. She is not a fan of needles but that does not bother her much, because she is more concerned with her health.

"The Chinese are really effective with this treatment. I was really in a very bad condition when I started this treatment but as you can see my body is not paralysed," she said.

Meanwhile, 50-year old Collin Fazenda who was involved in an accident a few years back is yet to fully recover physically from that traumatic experience as he is constantly haunted by a swelling knee.

"Even though the accident happened long back I experience swellings at times. The problem is the knee. It was just swollen but now I feel much better and it has just been one week since I underwent this treatment," said Fazenda.

While waiting for more patients to come in for the treatment, Chinese doctor Yu said there are many old patients who come for treatment.

"They come here for prevention even if they don't have diseases. Acupuncture is not only for treatment but also for care,"said the doctor. Young patients such as children also go to the clinic for treatment, he adds.

According to him, patients do not need to be referred by a doctor or a health professional. They can come directly to the clinic and except for regular hospital fee, the treatment is for free.

Furthermore, Yu said that his experience of over two years shows that many people in Namibia have problems with weight. As a result, there are many people with high blood pressure, back pains and joint pains. His message is that people should eat less meat and more vegetables.

"Namibians should pay attention to their health because more and more patients suffer from hypertension and heart diseases due to wrong diet," said Yu.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services through the Namibian government enjoys cordial relations with the Chinese government which makes it possible for Chinese doctors such as Yu to practice and pass on their skills to Namibians.

"Every two years there is a new team of Chinese doctors who come here to this clinic," explained Yu.

The Chinese medical team first came to Namibia in 1996 to set up the acupuncture department at the Katutura intermediate hospital.

Spokesperson of the health ministry in Namibia Ester Paulus said China has also built a new district hospital at Omuthiya in Oshikoto region as a donation to the government of Namibia amounting to 70 million yuan (10.8 million U.S. dollars). The hospital has been operational since 2013.

In addition, the Chinese government has also donated medical equipment and materials to Namibia and helped train local professionals in recent years.

SOURCE: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation