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Chinese doctors to perform free cataract surgeries for 500 patients in Dushanbe

Chinese specialists are conducting free examinations and performing cataract removal surgeries at the Republican Clinical Center for Eye Diseases in Dushanbe, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population (MoHSPP).

“This initiative is part of the Health Express: Bright Journey project by China’s Ministry of Health,” an official source at a MoHSPP told Asia-Plus in an interview.

The program is running from May 31 to June 18.  During this period, a team of Chinese specialists—comprising 4 doctors, 3 nurses, an engineer, and other supporting staff – is providing free examinations and surgeries for patients.

“Under this project, 500 patients will undergo surgery.  More than 150 Tajik citizens have already been examined, and about 70 individuals have been operated on,” the source added.

After the program concludes, the Chinese side will provide Tajikistan with equipment and supplies worth 1 million yuan as humanitarian aid.

An agreement on this subject was signed in Dushanbe yesterday.  

Residents of Dushanbe and other regions of the country can register for free cataract examinations at the Republican Clinical Center for Eye Diseases in Dushanbe until June 18, daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that leads to a decrease in vision of the eye.  Cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes.  Symptoms may include faded colors, blurry or double vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights, and difficulty seeing at night.  This may result in trouble driving, reading, or recognizing faces.  Poor vision caused by cataracts may also result in an increased risk of falling and depression.  Cataracts cause 51% of all cases of blindness and 33% of visual impairment worldwide.

Cataracts are most commonly due to aging but may also occur due to trauma or radiation exposure, be present from birth, or occur following eye surgery for other problems.  Risk factors include diabetes, longstanding use of corticosteroid medication, smoking tobacco, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and alcohol.

The Chinese Government has been sending medical teams to developing countries since 1963.   On April 6, 1963, China’s first overseas medical aid team left Beijing for Algeria.  In 2015, it was reported that since 2003, China’s Bright Journey project had benefitted close to 300 million eye patients in more than 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Oceania.