Close to 3,000 healthcare workers from China and around the world have joined the Global MediXchange for Combating Covid-19, an online program set up to share medical insights, first-hand experiences and best practices for treating the coronavirus disease.
First launched in March, the GMCC was established by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation with the goal of fighting the novel virus through knowledge sharing and communication. Supported by technologies and tools from Alibaba Health and Alibaba Cloud, the platform features three main components: digital access to epidemic-prevention resources, videos and webinars, as well as tools for online discussions. Aside from having its own dedicated platform, GMCC can also be accessed overseas through the Alipay app.
“Global healthcare workers are doing their best to fight this pandemic. GMCC is our way of showing support and commitment to the medical community,” said Li Ma, Alibaba Health senior vice president. “It is designed as an exchange platform and we will continue to share different Covid-19 related manuals, videos and organize online meetings between China and overseas medical experts. We welcome more medical staff from China and all over the world to participate and to join forces in the fight against this pandemic.”
The GMCC was launched together with a Covid-19 prevention and treatment handbook written by frontline medical experts from the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine. To make its contents accessible to medical communities around the world, the handbook has been translated into more than 20 languages.
Since then, two new guidebooks have been added to the platform. Compiled by the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, the “Covid-19 Outbreak Hospital Response Strategy” manual offers insights into topics such as hospital-management efficiency, resource allocation and measures to minimize infections among medical staff. Meanwhile, the third and latest handbook focuses on the rise of makeshift emergency hospitals and shelters in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
To facilitate better sharing of anti-infection knowledge, the platform this month started to organize video conferences and webinars between medical experts in China and those abroad.
On April 10, Ethiopia’s health minister, Lia Tadesse, and staff from more than 20 hospitals from the African nation tuned in to a two-hour online medical exchange session with the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, to discuss best practices in treating and containing the spread of Covid-19. Another session was held on April 15 for hospitals in Rwanda.
WATCH: Healthcare workers around the world use the GMCC
“We have gained a lot, especially on how [SAHZU] coordinated and responded across the hospital, efficiently examined and leveraged limited resources, and managed their workers to protect them from getting infected when combating Covid-19,” said Dr. Sisay Betizazu from St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Ethiopia. Betizazu added that his hospital planned to apply lessons learned from the GMCC session as it continues to battle the disease.
Last week, Dr. Sunil De Alwis, the deputy director general of the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka, led a team of doctors in a video conference with Dr. Jinnong Zhang, the director of the emergency department at Wuhan Union Hospital. During the call, Dr. Zhang – who himself had recovered from the coronavirus infection – shared his personal uphill battles with the disease, his views on testing and his suggested treatment plans for Covid-19.
To date, hundreds of medical staff from hospitals across Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa and Sri Lanka have participated in live exchange sessions organized by the GMCC.
“Covid-19 is new to us, as it is new to the world. It is important for people who are really managing the disease to hear of experiences of dealing with Covid-19, to hear from people who have first-hand experience with treating these patients,” said Dr. S M Zungu from the South Africa National Department of Health. “The experiences that were shared in this exchange were very valuable, and what I took away was the importance of preparation, prevention and monitoring at all times.”
Additional sharing sessions are scheduled for hospitals in Zimbabwe as well as for the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in coming weeks.
Aside from the live exchange sessions, medical professionals from across the globe are encouraged to leave questions and comments on the GMCC’s online discussion forum. Registered medical professionals can also engage in online group chats with doctors abroad through the International Medical Expert Communication Platform on DingTalk, Alibaba’s enterprise communications and collaboration app. So far, over 440 medical institutions from 104 countries and regions have signed up to the platform, which features real-time translations into 11 languages, to share knowledge and support during the global health pandemic.
For more coverage on Jack Ma Foundation’s coronavirus-relief efforts, click here.