The launching ceremony of the “Mekong Bright Action” project was held in Vientiane, Laos on October 14th. During the following month, Chinese medical teams will travel to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and other countries and perform free operations for 800 poor cataract patients.
The project’s seeds were sown during the first meeting of the Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation, which was hosted in Sanya, Hainan, on March 23rd 2016. The leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam all attended. During the meeting, China promised to cultivate talents in the field of public health and carry out “Bright Action” to help poor cataract patients in these five countries regain their eyesight.
The “Mekong Bright Action” project is carried forth by the China Public Diplomacy Association and the China Charity Alliance. The Xiamen University Ophthalmic Center, affiliated to the Huaxia Ophthalmic Hospital Group, has been invited to be in charge of the program. The Huaxia Ophthalmic Hospital Group has already operated in many countries including Burma, Sri Lanka and Nepal, and this is their eighth time going abroad to perform free operations.
Chinese Ambassador to Laos Guan Huabing, vice president of the China Public Diplomacy Association Gong Jianzhong, vice minister of the China Charity Alliance Liu Youping, Laos’s vice minister of health and the office director of the Laotian Ministry of Health Nao Bota all attended the ceremony, and then also went on stage and removed the eye pads from a group of patients who have already been cured through the program.
During the ceremony, the Laotian vice minister of health gave a speech in token of his welcome and gratitude. He also claimed that China’s recent experience in conducting cataract extraction projects was worthy of study for Laos, and expressed his hope that Laos and China could have more opportunities to cooperate with each other in the field of public health. Moreover, the director of the Laos National Ophthalmic Center Dr. Khamphoua proposed to select and send some young doctors to receive training in China, especially in the Xiamen Ophthalmic Center, in the future.
The vice president of the Xiamen University Ophthalmic Center Dr. Li Xiaofeng and Dr. Li Limei from the cataract department also attended the launching ceremony. Dr. Li Xiaofeng said that the Xiamen University Ophthalmic Center would keep participating in charitable medical activities in countries included in the Chinese government’s “one Belt and one Road” strategy, promoting the communication between China and other countries and bringing brightness to more patients.