xi's moments

Somalis leverage China education in recovery effort

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-11-28 09:20

MOGADISHU-Somali youth are on the front line of promoting recovery in the strife-torn African nation after pursuing higher education in foreign countries, including China.

In recent years, hundreds of Somali students have undergone university education in China, either through scholarships or through self-sponsorship.

These graduates are now forming the backbone of the country's key sectors, such as education, health and engineering, among others.

"I started studying medicine in China in 2007 and after completing my bachelor's degree, I returned to Somalia in 2012," explains Adan Abdulkadir, a surgeon currently based at Bay Regional Hospital in southwestern Somalia. "At the time the country was undergoing a severe famine."

He took up assignment at Banadir hospital in the city. "There were so many children suffering from diarrhea, so my main work was to treat these children," he explains.

According to the United Nations, the famine in Somalia which started in 2011 claimed about 260,000 lives.

"I moved to Bay region in southwestern Somalia and started working in the biggest hospital there-Bay Regional Hospital," says Abdulkadir, adding that he is now in charge of the surgery department.

Abdulkadir has been able to transfer his skills and knowledge to several of his colleagues, both in Mogadishu and the Bay region.

He is not alone, either. Amin Mohamud earned his master's degree in medicine from China in 2017.

"I started my undergraduate studies at Wuhan University and, afterward, took my master's at Central South University. I went back to the country and teamed up with friends I studied with in China to establish a hospital to serve our people," Mohamud says.

He feels that he received a quality education in China, which has enabled him to offer a professional service to his patients, adding that he appreciated the support he got during his studies.

"The people in China are very friendly and we got all the support we needed," says Mohamud.

Mohamed Deeq shares similar experiences with his colleagues. He too studied at Wuhan University and is currently an internal disease doctor (internist) in Mogadishu.

"I finished both my bachelor's and master's degree at Wuhan University in China," he says. "When you get the chance to study in China, you are lucky. They teach using high-end technology and that has helped me a lot as an internal disease doctor at Digfer Hospital."

He reveals that plans are in place to set up a voluntary program with colleagues who studied in China that will focus on raising awareness and education about the spread of disease and its prevention.

Recovering from two decades of civil war, which destroyed infrastructure and social institutions, Somalia is tapping into the skills of its citizens who fled the turmoil and got the chance to study abroad.

In September, the Chinese embassy in Mogadishu approved 42 Somali students, drawn from all regions of the country, to study in China as part of a Chinese government funded scholarship scheme.

The number was twice that of 2015, which saw 20 students benefit from the scholarship.

The return of these students to their homeland after completion of their studies in China is expected to help bridge the massive skills gap the country currently faces.

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