Irene Greaves Jaimes of Venezuela holds back tears in her eyes as she listens to Profesor Albertino Damasceno speak.
Prof. Damasceno, a cardiologist at the University of Maputo in Mozambique, is giving a powerful presentation on the medical crisis in his country--the average life expectancy in Mozambique is 41-years of age, he says. Most die of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, or some lethal cocktail of all three at once.
Ms. Greaves Jaimes knows this fact all too well--three of her friends she worked with while volunteering at a hospital in Macia, Mozambique in 2010 have recently succumbed to HIV/AIDs deaths.
Says Ms. Greaves Jaimes, "My friend who trained me at the hospital died nine months ago. I am still haunted by this and can't sleep well."
Fortunately, Ms. Greaves Jaimes, a teacher and healthcare volunteer based in Zhuhai, is seeking out positive avenues to stave off her sadness by participating in a revolutionary healthcare forum in Macau organized by Dr. Manson Fok, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Macau (MUST).
Indeed, the Sino-Luso International Medical forums that were launched this past May by Dr. Fok and MUST's Faculty of Health Sciences Director of the Centre of Excellence in Skills Training, Dr. Billy Chan, are causing a stir across China and internationally.
They're giving Macau a new medical heart faster than ever too with the formation of the Macau Cardiology Association (MCA), headed by Dr. Mario Evora, Director of Cardiology at Conde S. Januario General Hospital.
This new association builds on a currently existing cardiology society in Macau, and is taking it to higher levels with a partnership with MUST's Center for Excellence in skills training at the Faculty of Health Sciences.
It also supports the new emergency care center of Conde S. Januario located at MUST's University Hospital, which has already treated 9 cardiology patients in its first week of opening this month.
The new MCA is the final baby, as it were, of a marathon medical movement that began on 26 November with MUST's Sino-Luso International Medical Forums and the 1st Macau International Medical Congress of China and Portuguese Speaking Countries, which ended late last week.
For this Macau medical momentum, China's Vice-Minister of Health Huang Jiefu came to Macau to praise a new robotics facility plaque dedication ceremony at the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) with Dr. Manson Fok, Dean of Health Sciences at MUST. Also in attendance was the Vice-President and Secretary General of the 2.3 million strong Chinese Medical Doctor's Association (CDMA), Dr. Yang Jing.
Vice-Minister Huang said, "I am delighted that so many people are attending these important forums. In terms of improving health care for Macau I express my great appreciation to Dr. Fok's work."
Vice-Minister Huang further said, "Last November, Premier Wen Jiabao came to Macau and encouraged people to reach out to the Portuguese speaking world. That is now really happening here in Macau."
CDMA Vice-President Yang Jing said: "This a very important development for the increased awareness for Chinese doctors and our friends in Portuguese speaking countries. I am honored to be here to wish it success."
One of the famous doctors who gave a lecture at the Center of Excellence was Professor Gao Chanqing, the father of robotic surgery in China and currently the world's leader in this field with 500 robotic surgery operations. Prof. Gao, the chief cardiologist at Beijing's PLA 301 General Hospital, said, "With robotic surgery that is minimally invasive, we can reduce the amount of time a patient stays in the hospital. They can go home after a few days, and because it does not leave heavy scars, the patients feel better psychologically. All of my patients who have had this are alive and thriving."
Commented Dr. Fok,"When we began seven months ago with our three previous Sino-Luso International Medical forums, we hoped that we would build more momentum and that the government would also lend their continued support. We are pleased that our doctors are exchanging ideas. We look forward to even more Macau government support in the future."
Dr. Evora, president of the MCA and director of cardiology at Conde S. Januario General Hospital, says, "I never expected this to happen so fast in Macau. They're really developing something at the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) with simulation training. This cooperation improves our capacity to expands our range of training. Right now in Macau, our aim is to get more of our doctors experience with cardiology surgery, which takes a long time. We also plan to share our knowledge with other Portuguese speaking countries."
Indeed, the MCA signed an agreement of cooperation with the European Society of Cardiology. They are also planning to launch Macau's first Faculty of Medicine at MUST with Dr. Fok's full support.
Said Fausto Pinto, vice president the European Society of Cardiology, "This is an important step for we doctors from the Portuguese speaking countries to work more closely together."
Said Dr. Billy Chan, Director of MUST's Center for Excellence in medical skills training at the Faculty of Health Sciences, "Heart disease and strokes are the number one killers in Macau now. People are changing their diets and becoming more affluent, consuming richer foods and, sadly, junk food. With better trained local cardiologists and medical facilities, we can address this danger."