Foreign and Military Affairs

Chinese doctors give free cataract treatment

Updated: 2011-03-22 08:03

By Huang Yiming (China Daily)

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Chinese doctors give free cataract treatment
A Chinese doctor checks the eyes of a cataract patient before surgery on Monday in Harare, Zimbabwe. Doctors from Beijing's Tongren Hospital are on an eight-day mission, from March 19 to 26, to provide free operations to 500 local patients. Huang Yiming / China Daily

Harare, Zimbabwe - Vice-Premier Wang Qishan visited Chinese doctors at the Chitungwiza Central Hospital where Zimbabwean patients were given free cataract treatment by a team of Chinese medical professionals. His visit took place on Monday afternoon during his two-day trip to Zimbabwe.

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Doctors from Beijing's Tongren Hospital are on an eight-day mission, March 19 to 26, to provide free operations on 500 local patients. Zimbabwe has an estimated 60,000 people suffering from cataract, most of them elderly and lacking access to or financial resources for proper treatment. The average price for treating one eye is 7,000 yuan ($1,066) in China.

Named "China-Africa Brightness Action", this is the second trip for the doctors to Zimbabwe in less than six months. The first expedition was taken in November 2010, and 300 Zimbabwean patients received the service, together with 300 more in Malawi.

Wang was scheduled to remove the bandage from the left eye of Wilson Mawindos, who has been suffering cataract for years.

"I was in the (dark), and now I am opened to daylight," said the 55-year-old Mawindos.

He said that Chinese doctors are scheduled to perform another surgery on his right eye.

Mawindos, who used to be a while collar worker, lost his job because of cataract.

He said that he was expecting to come back to work after the surgeries.

"The person I most want to see is the Chinese doctor who operated on my eyes," Mawindos said.

Patients from all over the country, some trekking from as far as 500 kilometers away, come to the Chitungziwa hospital, located 40 km outside of the capital city of Harare, for the free service. The treatment includes a complimentary snack and T-shirt. The hospital itself was built with Chinese assistance in 1985. China has also provided training for its medical personnel.

Hainan Airlines and Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Co (AFECC), a Chinese firm with extensive business activities in Zimbabwe, have been underwriting the charity project. Their staff also serve as volunteers during the cataract operations. AFECC announced that it will donate a complete set of equipment for cataract extraction to Zimbabwe.



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