Eye centre heads to China
A MOBILE eye treatment centre left Hong Kong yesterday to treat thousands of cataract patients living in secluded villages in China.
The $3 million Sight Care No 1, equipped with consultation room, a surgery unit and a ward, will take doctors to deprived areas in Shaanxi province to restore eyesight for patients.
The 20-metre truck also has two electricity generators, a water tank, and four hydraulic stabilisers.
Grace Chan Leung Yuet-ming, director of the Hong Kong Society for the Blind, which organised the project with the Asian Foundation for the Prevention of Blindness, said there was no example they could learn from to help in designing the interior.
'It is different from the flying eye hospital as it is more spacious and can store bigger facilities.
'Here we can perform eye check-ups and minor operations on cataract and glaucoma patients.' Doctors spent two days with a local manufacturer on the positioning of delicate equipment so that an operation would not be affected even if it had to be performed on winding roads. Mrs Chan said about 1,500 patients each year would benefit from the free service.
There are more than 7.5 million blind people on the mainland, half of them confined to darkness because of cataracts.
Yesterday four local ophthalmologists left for Guangdong on a one-month trip aimed at restoring sight to 200 people.
The mobile treatment centre will then travel to Shaanxi for two months to help another 200 blind people before being handed over to the Shaanxi Government.