China, Zimbabwe sign agreement on cataract surgery program

Updated: Feb 28, 2024 Xinhua Print
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HARARE -- China and Zimbabwe on Wednesday signed an agreement on carrying out a cataract surgery program in which a Chinese ophthalmologist medical team will be dispatched to the southern African country to carry out free cataract clinical operations.

The agreement was signed by the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhou Ding on behalf of the Chinese government and Zimbabwe's Minister of Health and Childcare Douglas Mombeshora representing the Zimbabwean government, to carry out the "Bright Journey" Program.

In his address at the ceremony, which was held at the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals (PGH) in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, Ambassador Zhou said the agreement marks the latest step in medical and health cooperation between the two countries.

"We will be inviting the group of Chinese eye doctors to come here to conduct the cataract surgery for about 600 cataract patients. This group of doctors will also conduct academic exchanges and provide training to the medical personnel here in Zimbabwe," said Zhou.

After the completion of the program, all the medical equipment, consumables and medical supplies will be donated to Zimbabwe, Zhou said.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Mombeshora expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government.

"The 'Bright Journey' is not something new. It started in 2010 and again in 2011, and quite a lot of patients have 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," said Mombeshora.

He said local ophthalmologists will also gain more experience from their Chinese counterparts.

On behalf of the Chinese government, Zhou also officially handed over a donation of medical equipment and consumables to the PGH to support its development of pulmonary and critical care.

"The equipment will go a long way to manage more patients for us and also train more doctors, more specialists will be trained, so it's quite a donation which is worth recognizing," Mombeshora told reporters.

Following the signing of the agreement, Zhou, Mombeshora and other officials toured the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Center (TCMAC) at PGH. The TCMAC was set up in 2020 to provide free Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture diagnosis and treatment services to locals.

China and Zimbabwe share a long history of medical cooperation, and since 1985, the Asian country has dispatched 20 Chinese medical teams to Zimbabwe.

In addition to providing training to Zimbabwe's medical personnel, China has also helped Zimbabwe to build medical facilities, including Mahusekwa Hospital, about 100 km from Harare.

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