China, Zim sign Eye Cataract Surgery MOU

By Kuda Pembere

The Chinese Government on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Bright Journey cataract surgery program with the Zimbabwean Government.

Speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Zimbabwean and Chinese Governments for the Bright Journey program of cataract surgery at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Zimbabwe’s Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said they are hopeful this cataract surgery which began in 2010 followed by another eye surgery camp in 2012 will help local ophthalmologists gain exposure from Chinese counterparts.

As you know, the bright journey is not something new. It started in 2010 and again in 2012. And quite a lot of patients benefited from the cataract extraction that took place.

“And now there is an MOU that has been signed to upscale the cataract extraction camps that will be run in Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Chinese experts. We hope this will also benefit our local ophthalmologists who gain more experience, get more exposure,” he said.

A recently opened Respiratory Health Unit at Parirenyatwa Hospital also received medical equipment to the tune of US$500 000. The Health Minister also commended the Chinese Government for handing over the equipment to the lung health ward.

“We are very grateful for the equipment that has been donated, but the equipment, most of it is going to the respiratory center that is being established in Parirenyatwa Hospital.

“The equipment will go a long way to manage more patients for us, also train more doctors, more specialists will be trained. So, it’s quite a donation which is well recognized,” he said.

The Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Zhou Ding said about 600 cataract patients are expected to be treated under this Bright Journey program.

“Only last year we invited around 100 government officials, nurses and doctors and technicians from Zimbabwe’s medical and health sector to attend training programs in China. So, our relations have been very, very close. And the cooperation in medical and health sector has been really benefiting the Zimbabwe people.

“And this time, I feel very glad that we are going to start a new program, which is called Bright Journey program. But actually, it’s not a brand new one, because about 10 years ago, back in 2010 and 2012, we have already conducted this program and benefiting 800 cataract patients, helping them restore their eyesight. So this time we’ll be, after signing this, we will start this program, we’ll be inviting a group of Chinese eye doctors to come here to conduct the cataract surgery for about 600 cataract patients,” he said.

Ambassador Ding also said the medical equipment for the respiratory ward was worth US$500 000.

“And also, after completing the projects, they will leave, they will donate all their medical equipment and consumables and medical supplies to Zimbabwe. And I think this is marks a new step, a significant development in the medical and health sector between our two countries.

“And as Chinese embassy, we have always been serving as a bridge between our two countries, promoting cooperation in all areas. So I would like to continue this effort, starting from this significant project, I think we will put efforts and facilitate more of this kind of programs and projects to benefit Zimbabwe and benefit the Zimbabwean people,” he said. “So I feel very glad to donate a batch of medical equipment to Parirenyatwa Hospital, which valued half a million dollars. And also the Chinese embassy on behalf of the Chinese government, this is not from the embassy. We are donating this medical equipment on behalf of the Chinese government and Chinese Hunan provincial government.”

Government’s chief ophthalmologist Dr Boniface Macheka said the Bright Journey project started at the nick of time as they were few eye specialists at the time.

I have been part of the bright journey, bright genie one and bright journey two. And this will be what bright journey three. And at that time I think as a country and as hospitals, We were seriously handicapped in terms of human resources as well as some recent consumables for cataract surgeries. And both those bright journeys we managed to do about 500 therapeutic patients. And this time around, I think when the MOU was circulating, I indicated that for us, now we have got a lot of specialists. There are some who can do a fecal emulsification. There are others who can do small incision cataract surgery. And we have got up to about 10 consultants who can do good cataract surgeries.

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