At 2 pm, the waiting area outside the brain surgery clinic of Chouzhou Hospital was, as usual, full of patients. Over the course of just one hour, Al-Baadani received 14 patients from Yemen, Morocco, and several other countries. Al-Baadani is not just their doctor in Yiwu, he is also their friend and family.
Half of his 3,500 WeChat
contacts are patients
Twenty-four years ago, after just turning 18, Al-Baadani successfully applied for a full scholarship to study in China through the Sino-Yemeni Cultural Exchange Program and China Scholarship Council. His dream of visiting China had come true.
He had dreamed of visiting China since he was 13, when his father got sick and wanted to go to a hospital with a Chinese medical team for treatment. Eventually, his father received Chinese acupuncture treatment, which completely cured his facial paralysis. This planted a deep-seated belief in the efficacy of Chinese medicine in his young mind.
When Al-Baadani came to China, he studied in Shandong province and Tianjin before graduating from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine with a degree in clinical medicine.
During that time, he would sometimes take a bus to Yiwu. "In Yiwu you can meet many foreigners and find food from all over China," Al-Baadani said. He added that traveling to Yiwu felt, in a way, like returning home.
After receiving his Ph.D, Al-Baadani decided to find a job in Yiwu. In 2017, he was hired as an international doctor by Chouzhou Hospital. Since then, he has been primarily responsible for the brain surgery clinic and international clinic. He is the only international medical work in Yiwu with a medical Ph.D degree.
Al-Baadani's patients come from all over the world. His WeChat account has more than 3,500 contacts, at least half of whom are patients. Even after work, he answers questions from his patients on the phone.
"China is the safest country"
At the beginning of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, many people asked Al-Baadani for advice. During that time, his mobile phone became a mobile consulting platform. He was available almost the entire day. "China is the safest country. Just stay here," Al-Baadani would reply when people asked him whether they should go back to their home countries or not.
Al-Baadani believes that as a doctor, he is obliged to spread awareness of China's successful handling of the pandemic with people in other countries. He spent a lot of time producing short videos about the fight against the pandemic, China's latest pandemic control strategies, and touching stories during the pandemic on international social media platforms.
With Al-Baadani's increased influence, many overseas media contacted him and asked him to discuss China's current situation and experiences in fighting the virus. During those months, Al-Baadani accepted online interviews with media from more than 20 different countries, including the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, revealing the measures China took to defeat the pandemic, as well as policies on economic recovery.
"A doctor has a lot of responsibilities"
As a doctor, Al-Baadani said that the most important thing is to take responsibility, no matter what. "Becoming a doctor shouldn't be for one's own benefit, but for helping others. All doctors want to help their patients, regardless of their nationality," said Al-Baadani.
He has been working as a doctor in Yiwu for seven years. He believes that Yiwu is an open, tolerant, and international city and regards it as his second hometown, where he can realize his dreams.
(Translated by Marco Lovisetto and Zhang Jiajia, edited by Kendra Fiddler)