SPEIT joins Sino-Franco Joint Medical School to offer online health counseling to SPEIT students in France

In late February 2020, the novel coronavirus started to rage across Europe that first broke out in early 2020, while approximately 50 SPEIT students were still on their exchange programmes with four partner schools in France. In early March, new cases of COVID-19 were seen rapid increase in France and its neighboring countries, adding to the anxiety and worry of overseas students in France and their parents. On the early morning of March 13th, the French President Emmanuel Macron announced nationwide closures of schools. With the situation looking grimmer than ever, the leaders and faculty members of SPEIT have been much worried about the students in France.

School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SFJMS) made a joint initiative to put in place an online Chinese-French health counseling platform, with the SFJMS channeling medical resources from the Ruijin Hospital affiliated to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine and France, aimed at providing SPEIT students in France with common sense about how to protect themselves from COVID-19 and daily health guidance as part of its efforts to convey its care and support.

The platform was officially set up on March 12th with the efforts of the international exchange division of the SFJMS, where all the students of SPEIT and the SFJMS studying in France communicated with their ideological and political teachers as well as four volunteer doctors. At 21:00 Beijing time on March 14th, an online lecture on the French fight against COVID-19 and how to make self-protections was delivered on the platform, attended by over 60 teachers and students. The Chinese Dean of SPEIT Mr. LI Shaoyuan and the Deputy Dean of the SFJMS Mr. ZHANG Yin expressed gratitude and greetings to the volunteer doctors and students on behalf of SPEIT and the SFJMS. 

Deputy Party Secretary of SPEIT Ms. LI Yi facilitated the lecture, with the alumna of the class of 2001 of the SJTU Medical School and a medical practitioner in Strasbourg Dr. ZHANG Hui as the speaker. Dr. ZHANG introduced the French medical and social security systems, and analyzed the current situation in France and the measures taken by the authorities and the medical community there in different phases in response to COVID-19 based on the case studies involving her own experience of receiving suspicious cases as a general practitioner in France. She also shared with the students general information about COVID-19 and stressed the importance of enhancing immunity and self-protection by suggesting that each of them maintain a peaceful mind, be mindful of their hands, mouths, and feet, wash their hands more often, always wear masks, and avoid going outdoors as much as possible, especially densely populated public space. 

Following the professional and detailed introduction, the students took an active part in discussions on a range of topics, such as how would the epidemic evolve in France going forward, would there be any after-effects to those who recover from COVID-19, and would it be necessary to purchase any goggles or gloves for protection, etc. Other doctors also answered the questions based on their own expertise.

LIANG Ruikang and HE Jiawei, two students from SPEIT, attended the lecture and exchanged their ideas with the doctors. They said that it’s a chance to have a better understanding of the French medical and social security systems and that the doctors and teachers offered a lot of advice as to how to disinfect the back of shoes and door handles when going in and out of apartments among others. While being touched by those kind reminders, they also reminded the rest of the students of taking COVID-19 seriously and maintaining a cautious and sensible mindset in response. A student from the class of 2015 of the SFJMS said, “I’m so surprised to get involved in this activity. It’s like being in an extended warm family where I have been taken good care of by the elder. Doctor ZHANG’s lecture offered me a chance to get a deeper understanding of the French medical system and its approach to COVID-19 and consolidate my belief that we all shall leave this pandemic behind us safe and sound so long as we take strict self-protection measures albeit with different attitudes and measures in China and abroad.”

The online platform has received support from volunteer doctors as alumni of the SJTU Medical School ever since it’s launched, including Dr. ZHANG Andi of cardiology who graduated from the SJTU Medical School and now works at the Ruijin Hospital, Dr. MIN Dong who also graduated from the SJTU Medical School and now works at the ICU of the Ruijin Hospital, the general practitioner in France Dr. ZHANG Hui, and Dr. GU Weiming of radiology also in France, who didn’t hesitate to lend their help though they were busy with their daily routines. In the week since the platform was established, they not only answered questions in the lectures on the platform, but tried their best to read and reply to the messages left by the students on the platform after their shift.

The global situation in the fight against COVID-19 is so grim that we can hardly be optimistic about it. For students of SPEIT and the SFJMS, it’s imperative to increase self-management and protection in France and prepare themselves for the incoming online courses. The teachers and doctors of SPEIT and the SFJMS will continue to offer health lectures, individual counseling, and psychological support with their expertise as part of their efforts to give the students warmth, care, and company as they combat the pandemic. Wish all the students, faculty members, and medical practitioners health and safe as we weather the storm and meet again in our flowery campus!