China As a Healing Friend

The biggest China-aid project so far, a brand-new National Hospital OPD Center in Colombo which can accommodate 6,000 patients daily, will be soon opened to Sri Lankan people.

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Front view of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH) [Photo: Special Arrangment]

The following article is based on the speech by the author at the Medicine Donation Ceremony held at Lady Ridgeway Hospital, Colombo14th October 2022

It brings me very warm feelings and a strong attachment to visit the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children today. This hospital, along with other China-aid projects including the BMICH, Superior Courts Complex and Nelum Pokuna etc., have already become landmarks of Sri Lanka, and China-Sri Lanka friendship. I am very pleased to see the 9-floors main building constructed with Chinese assistance, and the MRI scanner donated by China continues to provide vital support to the hospital, benefiting children patients and their parents for over 20 years.

Today, on behalf of China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development, I am honoured and delighted to hand over urgently needed medicines worth 100,000Yuan (about 5.2 million Rupees) to Lady Ridgeway Hospital, and Colombo South& North Teaching Hospitals, which might provide further help to Sri Lankan kids in need of treatment. I would like to avail this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to Sri Lanka China Society for coordinating the donation.

Since China and Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations 65 years ago, our two countries and peoples have always been understanding and supporting each other. The COVID-19 pandemic and domestic economic crisis have brought severe difficulties to Sri Lanka, and its public health sector is especially faced with unprecedented challenges. We feel for our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters, and will continue our support to the health sector of Sri Lanka to the best of our capacity:

Firstly, China has been the biggest donor and supplier of PPEs, test kits and vaccines to Sri Lanka throughout the pandemic, which largely helped the island to win the battle against COVID-19.

Secondly, to tackle the CKDu (chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology) in Sri Lanka, China has handed over the National Nephrology Hospital in Polonnaruwa, the Joint Research and Demonstration Center for Water Technology in the University of Peradeniya, and 8 kidney disease mobile labs to the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka and brought into operation in the last year.

Thirdly, various batches of medicines worth 22.5 million RMB (about 1.2 billion LKR) donated by China under its 500 million RMB emergency humanitarian assistance have already arrived in Sri Lanka and largely relieved its medicine shortage. In the coming months, more medical supplies with a total value of 5 billion rupees will be handed over to Sri Lanka and delivered to hospitals and patients across the island.

Moreover, the biggest China-aid project so far, a brand-new National Hospital OPD Center in Colombo which can accommodate 6,000 patients daily, will be soon opened to Sri Lankan people.

In conclusion, I reiterate that at this moment of difficulty, we will stand by your side, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, and jointly overcome the current challenges to contribute more to the well-being of our two people.

Qi Zhenhong

Qi Zhenhong is a Chinese diplomat. After joining Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions (DSB) in the late 1980s he worked in various capacities from an Economist to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in the Kingdom of Bahrain. He is a former President of the China Institute of International Studies and currently serving as the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka.

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