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China-Africa Cooperation in Fighting COVID-19
A Versatile Volunteer
A young man embraces unfamiliar roles in the fight against COVID-19
By Li Kaizhi  ·2020-03-27

Yang Jie and the ventilators he has installed (CNR)

Driver, engineer, fishmonger - it's hard to imagine any connection between these three occupations, but Yang Jie, a young man from east China's Anhui Province, has strung them together. With what he has achieved in the battle against the COVID-19 epidemic, Yang has proved the old saying that "nothing is impossible to a willing heart."

At 8:00 p.m. on January 24, the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve, Yang saw a message requesting help to transport a batch of medical equipment from Nanjing in Jiangsu Province to Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei Province. But due to the difficulty in finding vehicles at such a special time, the transportation could not be arranged easliy. "By around midnight, I still didn't see any responses to the request, so I decided to give it a try," Yang said.

However, when he responded, he was told that moving the supplies needed two large trucks and had special requirement for the size of the trucks. He hesitated at first, as it was really a difficult job. But the thought of saving lives through the delivery of the supplies firmed up his mind to help. He soon set off to look for trucks, he said.

Delivery and installation

After a lot of effort, Yang was finally able to find truck drivers who were willing to go with him, but he was told the cost would be higher than usual because of the festival. He agreed to pay the amount without any hesitation. He then drove the whole night by himself from Anhui, his hometown, to Nanjing and met the drivers at 6:00 in the morning the next day. It took them a whole day and night to reach the site of Huoshenshan Hospital, including loading and unloading. But since the hospital was still under construction at that time and medical supplies could not be moved in, he had to transfer the equipment to a warehouse at another site in the city. "I really felt helpless at the time. There were no cars or people on the road due to the lockdown of the city. But, I had to accomplish my mission!" he said. Eventually, with the help of friends, he succeeded in delivering all the supplies with smaller automobiles in eight trips within another two days.

When transporting bulky items like a ventilator, he and other volunteers carried the equipment directly to the hospital room by hand. After the equipment was moved, it needed to be installed. At that time, only an expert could install the ventilator and related equipment, and Yang stood next to him. "It was a good chance to learn how to install the ventilator so that we could improve the overall installation efficiency," he said. Under the guidance of the expert, he learned very fast. "Software work was handed over to professionals. I was only responsible for installing cabinets and bases and assembling the whole equipment," added Yang.

Moreover, Yang and the expert also installed Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine and ultraviolet light sterilization robot for treating COVID-19.

A non-profit fishmonger

Knowing that the life of frontline medical staff was hard during the epidemic, Yang came up with the idea of helping improve their diet by providing them fresh fish. "I initiated a fundraising activity at my company, then contacted an online fresh food company and purchased 1,639 bass. The company was responsible for cooking and delivering." However, it was short of staff. Therefore, Yang and his colleagues had to join the whole process of preparing, packaging and delivering the food.

"When the first batch of 300 fish was sent to Huoshenshan Hospital, the expressions of surprise on the faces of the medical staff were unforgettable," Yang said, "They hadn't eaten such fresh fish for a long time." For his generosity, a medical staff gave him the nickname "the most beautiful fishmonger."

(Comments to zanjifang@chinafrica.cn)

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