Me and My Chinese Story: Liliya - "Norman Bethune" in Daqing
Liliya, an 81-year-old Kazakh, is the Chief Foreign Expert of Daqing Ophthalmology Hospital.
Having retired from Almaty City Central Hospital, Liliya was invited by the newly founded Daqing Ophthalmology Hospital in 1998 to provide clinical guidance. Initially, Daqing Ophthalmology Hospital had only a few medical facilities, with its departments only equipped with slit lamps and ophthalmoscopes. Still, under such an austere condition, Liliya has overcome many difficulties and brought sight back to her patients. Young practitioners under her guidance have an even stronger grasp and understanding of the relative theoretical knowledge and are constantly improving their clinical practice skills. In addition to these achievements, Liliya has, on numerous occasions, partaken in the Daqing Ophthamology Hospital's free medical consultations in numerous cities across China, receiving on average around 200 patients per day during the consultation periods.
Liliya has been working for the Daqing Ophthalmology Hospital for more than 20 years, relieving more than 200,000 patients from optical ailments and blindness by restoring their sight. Reputed consequentially as the "Norman Bethune” in Daqing, she was given the Friendship Award in 2005, China's highest honorary title granted by the Chinese government to foreign experts.
Living in China for 23 years, Liliya perceives this country as her second homeland. Despite her age, she says that she has never even considered the notion of retirement. "I know that I am gradually getting older, but I still intend to work as long as I can see, my heart still beats, and I still have my patients' trust."