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Li Jinkuan (L), a Chinese language teacher, and Shida Joseph Yacoub, a psychologist at Juba Teaching Hospital, pose for a photo at the hospital in Juba, capital of South Sudan, May 19, 2021. South Sudanese health workers have started learning the Chinese language at Juba Teaching Hospital in the country’s capital city. This will strengthen collaboration between local staff and Chinese doctors in the country. (Photo by Denis Elamu/Xinhua)

JUBA, May 19 (Xinhua) — Chinese characters like bu (no in English) are repeated aloud by several South Sudanese health workers after Chinese language teacher Li Jinkuan in a wide room at the Juba Teaching Hospital in the capital city of South Sudan.

Mary Angela, a 34-year-old South Sudanese nurse, is among the 50 health workers attending the medical Chinese language course being taught by the eighth batch of the Chinese medical team in South Sudan.


Angela is eager to learn the language to enable her to understand medical instructions given to her by the Chinese doctors.


Angela admitted that prior to enrolling for the language lessons, she has been finding it hard to communicate instructions from Chinese doctors to local patients.

She now hopes to master the language to make up for her past failures.

“I am interested in learning Chinese for the reason that we have some of the Chinese working with us here, and sometimes when they communicate with us, we end up missing the information we are supposed to get from them. I felt it better to learn the language so that I understand it myself rather than someone translating on my behalf,” Angela told Xinhua in Juba on Wednesday after attending her lesson.

Angela also hopes to improve on her communication skills when she gets the chance to travel to China for her medical studies.

“These days a lot of people are traveling, sometimes you may go to China for studies so it is very important to learn Chinese language so that if you go there you will be able to communicate with Chinese people,” she added.

Shida Joseph Yacoub, one of the psychologists participating in the medical language course, said some of her South Sudanese colleagues she worked with in the past learned Chinese language and they inspired her to enroll for the ongoing language course.

“Chinese language is a nice language. I used to hear colleagues I worked with speak it and I picked interest in learning the language,” said Yacoub.

Yacoub disclosed that learning the language will ease medical exchange programs between China and South Sudan.

South Sudanese health workers have over the past years been traveling to China for education while Chinese medical teams have been coming to work in the country.

“South Sudanese are sent to China for education and medical treatment. It is very important for us to learn Chinese language because there will be no need for translation,” said Yacoub.

She added that it will also help strengthen collaboration between medical staff in Juba Teaching Hospital and Chinese medical teams in South Sudan.

Maker Isaac, director of Juba Teaching Hospital, said he is pleased to participate in the ongoing medical Chinese language course not only to learn the Chinese language and culture but also to strengthen existing relations between the two countries in the health sector.

“China is a major development partner in South Sudan and the Chinese are working closely with us in Juba Teaching Hospital, I want to be very close to them and understand their culture,” said Isaac.

Meanwhile, Li who is fluent in English said he is already impressed by the progress so far shown by the South Sudanese health workers in grasping Chinese characters.

He also revealed that the good relations between the two countries are making more South Sudanese interested in learning the Chinese language.

“A lot of doctors and nurses come for the training not just because they want to learn Chinese language. It’s because of the strong cooperation between South Sudan and China. Learning Chinese language provides education and economic opportunities and also opportunity to learn Chinese culture,” said Li.

“They are eager to learn because they pay keen attention to details, I have observed they are learning the language faster. I think everybody here can learn Chinese language,” he added. Enditem

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