Feature – Chinese Doctors Bring Brightness to Congolese Cataract Patients

For 65-year-old Balossa Yvonne, a Congolese woman who is suffering from cataract for months, a cure for her illness is to receive a surgery.

However, due to limited access to medical resources, she found it hard to get a proper surgery until she came to China-Congo Friendship Hospital (CCFH) where the Chinese medical team in the country is stationed.

Funded and constructed by China, the CCFH was inaugurated by the heads of state of the Republic of Congo and China in 2013 and has stood as a symbol of friendship and booming cooperation between the two countries.

With the advice and assistance of a friend, Yvonne decided to take the cataract surgery at CCFH famed for treating eye illness, which is also the only hospital in the country that can perform phacoemulsification.

“I want to express my thanks to the Chinese doctors and they are truly professional,” said Yvonne who regained a clear eyesight after the surgery.

Meanwhile, 93-year Okamba Dominique also received his cataract surgery on the right eye the same day as Yvonne.
Dominique told Xinhua he lost the sight of both eyes due to cataract. A surgery he took at CCFH a couple of months ago helped him regain eyesight of his left eye.

“Thanks to the Chinese doctors and their medical skills, I can see clearly again,” said Dominique.

Since the China-led Brightness Action campaign was launched in the country in 2016, CCFH has been receiving modern surgical supplies and medical instruments from China to treat eye illness.

Zhang Weipeng, an ophthalmologist at the hospital and also the doctor in charge of cataract surgery, said his department receives an average of 30 patients every day and many of them come to CCFH specially for phacoemulsification.

The doctor however said some local patients are reluctant to seek treatment until their eyesight is blurred by cataract, making it more difficult for the surgery to be performed.

“But as an ophthalmologist, the biggest happiness is to see my patients regain eyesight. It moves me a lot to see that Congolese patients trust Chinese doctors,” said Zhang.

Zhang said he is also actively involved in training sessions for local people and doctors to increase public awareness of eye illness and medical officers’ skills.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” said Zhang, adding that only when local doctors can independently perform cataract surgeries, there will be a “permanent” medical team to provide service for the public.

Since 1964, China has sent 24 medical teams, consisting of over 400 medical experts, to the Republic of Congo.

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Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

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