(29 April 2020, Shanghai) In order to support African medical institutions in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fosun Pharma, partnering with Shanghai Fosun Foundation, Fosun Medical and Tridem Pharma, People's Daily Health platform and the Health Times, held an "eCME on COVID-19 Case Management" at 19:00 Beijing time, 28 April. Professor Lu Hongzhou, CPC Committee Secretary of Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre and an infectious disease expert, together with other 3 renowned national and international experts, interacted online with health officials and healthcare professionals from over 10 African countries; sharing their experiences in fighting COVID-19 and introducing updates on clinical research. This webinar was focused on the management of COVID-19 in African medical facilities with limited resources.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Fosun Pharma, an international pharmaceutical company, has taken an active part in the battle. It has joined hands with many organizations to aid the global fight against COVID-19. This workshop was Fosun's third in a series of international webinars which began with the 6 April webinar of Chinese, European and American experts, and then the eCME of global pediatric specialists held in cooperation with Children's Hospital of Fudan University on 16 April. Mr. Wu Yifang, President and CEO of Fosun Pharma, said, “Fosun Pharma has been operating in Africa for over decade and has nearly 1,000 employees there. We are doing what we can to provide support in all forms to African countries and are very pleased to be a co-organizer of this meeting. Only through solidarity andcooperation can we win this fight! "
“As by 27 April, there were 299 COVID-19 confirmed cases in Tanzania. We are striving to control the spread of the epidemic by strengthening various case management measures.”Dr Leonard M. Subi, Directorate. of Preventive Services of Tanzanian Ministry of Health introduced the COVID-19 situation in Tanzania and the prevention strategy in Tanzania and said that more knowledge of prevention and protection is needed in practice.
Professor Lu Hongzhou, CPC Committee Secretary of Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre, is a member of the China Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19 and a support team member of China's overseas anti-epidemic medical expert group. He joined a China medical aid team to West Africa in 2014 to engage in the local fight against the Ebola epidemic.
For several consecutive months, Prof. Lu Hongzhou has been saving patients while conducting considerable clinical researches. In his lecture, Prof. Lu gave a systematic review on COVID-19 research updates from the aetiology, virology, pathology and therapeutic angles of the disease, and shared Shanghai's prevention and treatment experiences. "Shanghai's high cure rate of COVID-19 could not have been possible without great experience of its expert group members, advanced equipment, and most importantly, a strong medical team composed of experts from many domestic general hospitals," said Dr. Lu. Besides, the percentage of critically ill cases in Shanghai has remained low compared to many other Chinese regions due to the timely and effective early warning and intervention mechanism. The expert group will work out a specific diagnosis and treatment plan after consultation for every severe and critical patient.
Nearly 400 healthcare professionals from Africa joined the meeting. The scientists and experts thought highly of the address of Prof. Lu Hongzhou and many African doctors proactively left messages and gave feedback online, hoping Professor Lu to share more with them.
Prof. Marcus Schultz, a consultant critical care physician at the Department of Intensive Care of Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam, is currently in the front line of the battle against COVID-19 in Europe. Prof. Schultz shared Europe's experiences in the management of severe COVID-19 patients and offered treatment advice for low- and middle income countries. One of his statements was that patients with COVID-19 can have very low oxygen saturations in their blood without this causing much distress. These patients can most of the time be treated with just supplemental oxygen, and can benefit from being nursed on their front. They often don’t need mechanical ventilation. “We see that the whole world is rushing to buy ventilators. The availability of sufficient oxygen, the right tubing and non-rebreathing masks to provide supplemental oxygen is at least as important, especially for regions with limited resources.”
The speakers also stressed the importance of setting up a "Fortification against hospital-acquired infections". Prof. Jia Xiaomin, Chief Physician of Department of Respiratory Medicine of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, shared the experiences of Wuhan Jihe Hospital, a "zero hospital-acquired infection" example, in prevention and control of in-hospital infections and protecting its medical staff. He emphasised the importance of strictly complying with hospital-acquired management standards and applying adequate protection. Professor Jia led a medical aid team from Fosun Healthcare Group to Wuhan, Hubei Province shortly after the outbreak of the epidemic. After over three months’ round-the-clock efforts of the team, Wuhan Jihe Hospital cured and discharged 515 patients, and had no death and no medical workers being infected.
That evening, Professor Arjen Dondorp, Deputy Director of the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand and a world recognized malaria scientist, commented on speakers' remarks. He said, "It is very important for countries around the world to unite in the fight against COVID-19. Exchange of experiences is crucial. Countries where the pandemic has just started to hit, like in Africa, can learn from countries that have already experienced the wave of COVID-19 patients overwhelming their health systems. Moreover, in Sub-Saharan African countries it is important that other important diseases such as malaria, can still be managed properly when the COVID-19 pandemic arrives. Sufficient testing capacity for both diseases will be important to ensure. "
On 25 April, World Malaria Day 2020, Fosun Pharma joined forces with its Africa business unit Tridem Pharma to donate through Shanghai Fosun Foundation around USD200,000 worth of anti-epidemic materials to eight African countries through their Ministry of Health, including Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The materials are intended to be used by front-line healthcare workers in these countries to protect themselves. Fosun Pharma hopes that these materials will help alleviate the burden on local health systems, facilitating the countries to reach their malaria prevention and control targets.