Traveling to a new country whether for a short or long time comes with a host of new experiences and questions. Although some unknowns bring much excitement and adventure; when a foreigner feels the ailments of a cold or sickness approaching, feelings of dread about navigating a local hospital can be overwhelming.
Hence, very welcome news comes in the form of English-speaking Nanjing doctors who have set-up a subscription page on WeChat, one that is specifically designed to assist any questions foreigners might have regarding their health. Services include general inquiries and assistance regarding which hospital is best and how one might go about navigating it.
Dr. Leon, who has been working as a doctor in Nanjing for 10 years understands this, and that is why he created HospitalAid to help foreigners connect with a suitable hospital and doctor in their time of need.
“HospitalAid is inspired by one of my friends’ horrible experience in a Chinese Hospital. He can only speak a little Chinese, and he is not familiar with the procedures about how to make an appointment or how to pay the bill, how to do the lab test and where to get the report”, Leon said.
Using WeChat as the platform, one simply needs to send a message to the subscription page detailing symptoms. A member of staff will promptly reply with which hospital is most suitable, as well as how to make an appointment, and in which specific area to meet your needs. Staff members also offer to make the appointment for you, your job being to simply go to the designated hospital at the appointed time, while breathing a sigh of relief.
Local expat Andrea Garces spoke of experience using HospitalAid, remarking, “It was very useful for me, I don’t speak Chinese and I am alone here in Nanjing, the people behind that WeChat group were very nice. They communicated with a doctor at the hospital; even a nurse was waiting for me at the entrance, they really helped me a lot. They gave me the address, helped me with translation and they explained to me how to follow-up with treatment. I hope none of us have to face going to the hospital alone without speaking Chinese”.
Currently functioning as a non-profit service, staff members are also available to accompany you to the hospital, and to offer translation for your visit for an appropriate fee. “Our final goal is to establish our own clinic intended for expats, because currently there is no such service available in Nanjing”.
While there may not be an entirely locally run clinic dedicated to foreigners in Nanjing, there are a number of private clinics. Since international insurance is needed to be able to see a Western doctor, this excludes those foreigners who cannot afford such services. Thus HospitalAid has not only come as a gift but it has also tapped into a very thankful market.