The Cambodian Ministry of Health and the GX Foundation of China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on September 19 on a project to help eliminate cataract blindness in Cambodia by providing treatment to people in Prey Veng province.

The signing ceremony was presided over by health minister Mam Bun Heng and Leung Chun-ying – vice-chairperson of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the GX Foundation – with Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian in attendance.

“The signing of this MoU is in line with the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI] and cooperation in the strategic partnership of Cambodia and China,” the ministry said in a press release.

Bun Heng said the MoU was scheduled to be signed in October 2019, but was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The project includes the provision of two mobile clinics for surgeries and one 35-seat vehicle for transporting patients. Medical specialists will be sent to China for further training and a team of Chinese medical staff will cooperate with Cambodians who have been trained to perform cataract surgery – as well as other ocular procedures – free of charge,” he said.

He said this would be the second project of its kind, the first of which was successfully implemented in Kampong Cham province in 2019 under the auspices of the health ministry and the Asian Foundation for the Prevention of Blindness (AFPB), sponsored by the Hong Kong Belt and Road Centre.

He said the first project saw more than 6,000 people receive free cataract surgery, meaning they could now enjoy their lives.

And to assist Cambodia in its fight against Covid-19, the GX Foundation had previously donated medical equipment including 300 oxygen concentrators, 1,000,000 surgical masks, 30,000 isolation gowns, 160,000 gloves, 10,000 safety goggles and 10,000 face shields to Cambodia.

The minister thanked the Chinese government and people for their assistance to the Kingdom’s health infrastructure, human resource development, as well as the provision of medical equipment and Covid-19 vaccines and a medical team who had contributed to improving health services.

Leung said the mobile clinics and transport vehicles would arrive in October.

“I was very pleased to sign this MoU, especially following the successful operations on 6,200 residents in Kampong Cham province,” he said.

He said the Chinese specialist team would stay with the Cambodian people for three years to help treat and operate on cataracts for the people in Prey Veng.