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AHF Dedicates Asia Bureau Office to Heroic Wuhan Doctor

02/11/2020 | 01:02pm EST

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) mourned today the recent passing of Dr. Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old Chinese ophthalmologist who tried to warn the medical community about a mysterious virus in the early days of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak—but who was detained and censured by authorities for his candor. Dr. Wenliang succumbed to 2019-nCoV in the early morning hours of Feb. 7 in Wuhan after contracting the infection from a patient in early January.

“Li Wenliang was a profile in courage – despite the danger to himself, Dr. Wenliang continued to take care of his patients, ultimately sacrificing his life in the line of duty. The tragic result of his unheeded warnings is over 43,000 people infected and 1,018 deceased—a heartbreaking reminder of what happens when public health takes a back seat to other considerations,” said Michael Weinstein, AHF President. “We will memorialize Dr. Wenliang’s sacrifice by naming the AHF Asia Bureau office in Phonm Penh, Cambodia in his honor. We offer heartfelt condolences to Dr. Wenliang’s family and his courageous colleagues who continue to fight the outbreak on the ground.”

Since 2005, Phnom Penh has been the host city for AHF Cambodia’s country program and the Asia Bureau office, which oversees the organization’s operations in 10 countries across the region. AHF has 282,559 clients in care throughout Asia.

Since the outbreak began in December 2019, 26 countries and territories have been affected by 2019-nCoV, although over 99% of cases are confined to China, with Hubei Province as the epicenter. Many countries have implemented travel restrictions regarding China and airport screenings in place to prevent further spread of the virus.

“Dr. Li Wenliang, the young Chinese doctor, is clearly a martyr for global public health—his name should be remembered because of his early warnings about the new coronavirus,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of the AHF Global Public Health Institute at the University Of Miami. “We are reminded time and again that our interconnected world is simply unprepared to respond to outbreaks and pandemics. Whether it’s SARS, MeRS, Zika, Ebola or the coronavirus, we continue to repeat the same mistakes with catastrophic consequences. We must put an end to this once and for all by ratifying a Global Convention on Public Health, which would formalize and strengthen the process for responding to these types of outbreaks.”

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.3 million people in 44 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

© Business Wire 2020
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