The hospital ship undertakes another mission in 2018. (Photo by JIANG SHAN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
The Chinese hospital ship is winning friends across the world by providing a wave of free medical services.
Five-year-old Damien Maing, from Papua New Guinea, is able to stretch his fingers like any other child, thanks to surgery carried out in July last year by doctors from Peace Ark. The vessel, a floating hospital, is operated by the People's Liberation Army Navy.
It came as a huge relief for Damien's mother, Sharon Ali, who had witnessed her son's distress after his fingers were burned in a fire when he was 4.
"As his fingers were crooked, it worried me and I took him to the local clinic for dressing and treatment in the hope of seeing some improvement, but it didn't happen," she said.
"The burns cleared up, but his fingers were bent and crooked. I didn't want him to stay like that all his life. I felt so worried and hopeless. Now, I'm happy to see my boy move the fingers on his left hand. I'm very grateful to the Chinese medical team on the ship for Mission Harmony 2018. It was a lifetime experience for me and my son."
Damien is just one of thousands of patients who have had their ailments cured and their lives put back on track thanks to the free surgeries and treatments provided by the doctors on Peace Ark.
The ship was built especially to provide maritime medical care, with much of its equipment of equal standard to that found in China's top hospitals.
The crew includes some of the country's leading medical experts and professionals: a 120-strong team with expertise in 21 fields, including neurology, gastroenterology, physiotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine, infectious diseases, reconstructive surgery and burns.