Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng and China’s GX Foundation chairman on Tuesday signed the second memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a project to help eliminate cataract blindness in Cambodia. The programme will now be expanded to Prey Veng province and ultimately nationwide.

The project was agreed under the first MoU and has been running in Kampong Cham province since 2017, with 10,504 people receiving treatment and 4,961 being operated on, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

“To achieve the goal, our Chinese partner will provide two mobile eye surgery clinics, a car to transport patients, and medical equipment to offer free examinations, treatment and operations in Prey Veng province,” it said.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Bun Heng said the treatment of cataracts was an important issue, as 74.7 per cent of sufferers went blind.

“Cambodia needs more resources, including manpower, medical equipment and modern technology, to fight against the disease. The current project implementation has run smoothly and been highly successful. Cambodia has learnt a great deal from the Guangxi medical team.

“I am confident that signing the memorandum of understanding for the Cataract Blindness Eradication Project today will allow the public and private sectors and academia from China and Cambodia to work closely to eradicate cataract blindness in Prey Veng province, and soon the whole of Cambodia,” he said.

GX Foundation chairman Leung Chun-ying told the media that his organisation was looking to treat patients throughout the Kingdom.

“The eyecare project is not just for people in Prey Veng province. The more people come to use the facilities, the more successful the project will be.

GX Foundation is a Chinese non-profit NGO registered in Hong Kong to provide humanitarian aid in the public health sector. It was established in 2018 to realise people-to-people connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI].

People’s Centre for Development and Peace president Yong Kim Eng said on Wednesday that he was delighted that people could receive free eye care. He expressed hope that the clear policies would eventually allow everyone to have regular check-ups.

“We need these volunteer doctors to help us as we don’t have enough eye specialist. Clear information should also be available, to take over from the volunteer doctors and allow people to be treated in other places,” he said.