A rare opportunity to go aboard a world famous vessel to get a first hand glimpse of the Chinese Health Care System....count me in.
A Ship of Life.....An Envoy of PeaceIt was the very first time that a naval vessel/medical ship from the People's Republic of China was paying us a visit.
Length 178 meters
Beam 24 meters
Height 43.25 meters
Full displacement 14,300 tons
Medical cabins cover an area of 4,000 square meters
The lifeboats are enclosed.
The "Harmonious Mission - 2015" started on September 23 when the vessel left Malaysia's Port Klang headed on a goodwill mission to boost military diplomacy/medical exchange and cultural communication by visiting Australia, French Polynesia, USA, Mexico, Barbados, Grenada and Peru. This is the vessel's fifth harmonious mission since being commissioned.
Due to security considerations, an online registration form was filled out which allowed me to select my preferred time slot.....I opted for 9am.
The tours were arranged in twenty minute slots with only 25 persons per tour.
The 584foot long vessel was designed and built in China and is a full service emergency hospital with top notch equipment. It boasts 300 sickbeds, 8 operating rooms, 5 doctor offices, two medical staff offices, 8 nurse stations, over 200 types of medical devices, including CT, DR and colour ultrasound, a medical staff complement of 118 and a ship-borne Z-8 heliambulance.
Security checkpointAfter clearing security, it was up the gangway manned by two Naval guards,where we were ushered into the Triage Section of the vessel to watch a very informative 10 minute video on the operations of the vessel.
There are eight decks on board, and we were allowed to visit Decks 1 and 2 after leaving the Triage Area.
The "Ark Peace" is a fully equipped floating hospital which could easily provide every imaginable medical service.
The vessel provides emergency medical treatment to the wounded at sea during wartime, medical services to PLA troops stationed in remote areas and also humanitarian services to local residents and Chinese nationals.
That's not all....the vessel also provides scientific research, testing, training, international peace keeping, humanitarian aid, disaster relief rescue and evacuation and protection of Chinese overseas.
The painted green floors (representing health) were spotless and shone like glass.
A wide array of medical equipment.
A picture dedicated to Florence Nightingale - heroine nurse in the Crimean War.
"Love, Patience, Carefulness, Responsibility"
Signage throughout the vessel was both in Chinese and English.
Pictures on the walls showed various medical procedures.
Doctors on board practice both Western style medicine and traditional Chinese techniques.
The clinic for traditional Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, massage and cupping therapy.
Hospital Information Center
The Communications Room has CCTV for viewing corridors and patient rooms.
Slogan on the wall "Loyalty, Responsibility, Honour, Harmony"
After the indoor tour, we headed outside.
On the ship's stern is a landing pad for a Z-8 emergency helicopter.
In the background the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner.
I was impressed by the tour guides who spoke a fairly good sample of the English language so that we were able to understand and also help translate a few words.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and indicated my impression in the Guest Book provided.
This visit is the climax of a year of very active bilateral relations between China and Barbados in the areas of cooperation in both military and health services, and personal contact between the two countries.