COVID-19 writing from Zhejiang Province in China - experiencing health information and life (5)

13 March, 2020

Dear Shabina and Karishma,

Thank you for your messages and my apologies for the very late response. On your note Karishma, yes, the floods in Kerala were devastating and families of colleagues we worked in the Middle East had witnessed horrific circumstances and their communities were the true responders.

This same happened here in China, it is only that we foreigners were not involved and didn’t understand that all was truly strongly organized, and we didn’t need to worry at all. I should have just accepted when I was told by the volunteers that all is organized, and we should not worry. Now I see this was my lack of trust in the system I don’t know yet and mainly because the university didn’t provide at all information to us in that period. As an American who knows that the system in the USA unless there are other organizations helping out will not respond completely to help everyone since it has its tremendous weaknesses that we are seeing just now.

From this perspective today, I must say that the urge to be of help and assist is natural, but when you do not speak the language and the complete structure is already setup and running to respond well you just trust and follow the preventive measures. Which we did. Seeing the results now. We did Flattened the Curve! No cases in our place for 4 weeks and only one cluster of 4 in a family that stayed isolated.

I’ll send another note later today on the comparisons how I view from a distance now living in Zhejiang where everything is going back to normal and experiencing the lack of responsiveness in USA where two of our children are in states that declared emergency and we see that not enough testing is performed.

It will be good to draw the parallel and be objective!



Tatjana Kobb, MD

Adjunct Professor

MS Global Studies & International Relations

Northeastern University | College of Professional Studies

T:+1 617 586 5697



HIFA profile: Teaches Global Health/Public Diplomacy/Sustainable Development at Northeastern University; Final paper tutor at McGill University International Master of Health Leadership; Founder of Boston Sustainability Advising and Mentorship4SDGs; Massachusetts Medical Society member; Founding & current Co-Chair of Global Women's Health working group at Women Graduates USA, affiliate organization of Graduate Women International Past Steering Committee member of Physicians for Social Responsibility founding chapter in Greater Boston & current speaker on Climate Change and Health Established the National Safe Motherhood Alliance during Every Women and Every Child campaign after working with UNHCR, UNICEF and WHO in the Balkans. Rotary International CADRE global grant evaluator. Worked extensively in the Middle East and lives in China.

Healthcare Information for All Country Representative and member of the HIFA working group on Information for Citizens, Parents and Children and the HIFA working group on Mobile Healthcare Information for All.