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Staff at First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou
Staff at First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou with protective equipment ready for shipping to Birmingham

The University of Birmingham’s partners at a Guangzhou hospital are sending clinical masks and gowns for use by medical staff in the UK’s fight against coronavirus.

Medics at the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University are sending their counterparts at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham full personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to help keep staff safe as they treat patients.

The equipment is now on its way to Birmingham with 2,000 particulate filter respirators, 10,000 surgical masks, 20,000 examination gloves and 500 protective coveralls expected to arrive from China in just over a week.

Professor Xiao Haipeng, President of First Affiliated Hospital, said: “Healing diseases, the body and the soul; Saving lives, the nation and the world - this is the motto of Sun Yat-sen Medical school and the defining mission to which all of us stay true till this very day.

“Facing the global health crisis of COVID-19 pandemic, we will join hands with our colleagues in the University of Birmingham for partnership and mutual assistance. We believe we will triumph in this war without smoke. Stay strong, Birmingham! Stay strong, UK!”

The University of Birmingham has a long-standing partnership with First Affiliated Hospital and Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission in the Guangzhou-Birmingham General Practitioners (Family Doctors) Initiative.

The three-year project aims to provide training for general practitioners (GPs) to improve the service capacity of community health centres in Guangzhou and promote healthcare quality in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Birmingham, commented: “This generous gift of equipment from First Affiliated Hospital epitomises the spirit of friendship and co-operation within our partnership. I believe that the bonds between our Guangzhou- and Birmingham-based colleagues will help us all work through the challenging times that COVID-19 has thrust upon us.

“We are grateful to our friends in Guangzhou for their timely, thoughtful, and enduring support. We value our partnership and anticipate that, together, we will make huge strides in combating disease and improving the health prospects of people in China, the UK, and the rest of the world.”

Health experts from the University of Birmingham and First Affiliated Hospital are working together to promote healthcare quality in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

Personalised skills retraining for key general practitioners in Guangzhou will help GPs provide high-quality healthcare, whilst the project will also explore how commercial health insurance, healthcare management and primary care services can work more effectively together.

Launched last year at First Affiliated Hospital, the project is already delivering advanced training to GPs – many of whom have received training through the Guangzhou-Birmingham health collaboration.

Guangzhou health providers and the University of Birmingham have co-operated for many years in training of talents in community health centres - bringing doctors to the UK for training and establishing six China-UK Collaborating Centre for General Practice Training in 2015.

Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Director of the University’s China Institute, said: “The University of Birmingham has a special partnership with the city of Guangzhou - not just with health partners, but also with the Guangzhou Municipal Government. We remain committed to improving public health and showcasing ways of working that could be applied across China.”

  • For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Health experts from the University of Birmingham are working with policymakers and doctors to improve healthcare for millions of people in southern China.
  • The history of collaboration between China and the University of Birmingham dates back almost to the foundation of the University in 1901. The China Institute was created to reflect the University’s extensive academic activities its colleagues undertake in China.