JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Two hundred Jamaicans suffering from poor vision or blindness due to cataract disease are to benefit from free corrective surgery performed by Chinese ophthalmologists.
  • Dubbed the ‘Bright Journey’ mission, the ophthalmology team, comprising six medical doctors and two nurses, will be performing the procedures from May 18 to 29 at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).
  • The Bright Journey medical mission was made possible through the Beijing Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China, and Deputy Director General of the Commission, Mao Yu, informed that the Chinese Government has been sending medical teams to developing countries since 1963.

Two hundred Jamaicans suffering from poor vision or blindness due to cataract disease are to benefit from free corrective surgery performed by Chinese ophthalmologists.

Dubbed the ‘Bright Journey’ mission, the ophthalmology team, comprising six medical doctors and two nurses, will be performing the procedures from May 18 to 29 at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).

They will also be providing other clinical activities, donating medical equipment, and carrying out academic exchanges with Jamaican health care personnel.

At a ceremony at the KPH on Monday (May 18) to officially welcome the team to Jamaica and mark the start of their work, Minister with responsibility for the Public Service, Hon. Horace Dalley, who said the Administration welcomes the intervention of the Chinese Government, in assisting with the delivery of quality health care to all Jamaicans.

Minister Dalley was representing Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who is overseas.

He noted that the Ministry of Health facilitates close to 200 overseas volunteer medical missions to Jamaica each year, with services offered varying from general care such as diabetes and hypertension checks, to more specialised care such as spinal and cardiac surgeries.

“I know that the team from the Bright Journey mission will provide the same level of quality service to the 200 Jamaicans set to benefit from cataract surgeries and other clinical activities during your mission,” he said.

He further thanked Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Dong Xiaojun, “for your generosity of spirit and for displaying the true meaning of internationalism.”

For his part, Ambassador Xiaojun said the visit of the ophthalmologists, “from the best eye hospital in China, the famous Beijing Tongren Hospital,” signifies another important step in public health co-operation between the two countries.

He noted that the Bright Journey project is part of a commitment made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, to expand public health co-operation with Caribbean countries, during his meeting with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders in Trinidad and Tobago in June, 2013.

He informed that 65 Chinese doctors have already visited The Bahamas, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago to provide medical assistance and free surgery. The Ambassador said the Bright Journey team had completed a successful mission to Antigua and Barbuda, prior to visiting Jamaica.

He expressed confidence that the team whom he described as “angels with caring hearts, dedication, and superb expertise” will make a great difference in the lives of ordinary citizens, who would not be able to afford cataract surgery, which can cost between US$50,000 and US$60,000.

The Bright Journey medical mission was made possible through the Beijing Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China, and Deputy Director General of the Commission, Mao Yu, informed that the Chinese Government has been sending medical teams to developing countries since 1963.

He noted that over the period, 24,000 medical staff was deployed and 220 million patients were treated.

Selection of patients for surgery is being done by members of the Ministry of Health and the Chinese team.

The Chinese Government will also be donating medical equipment and supplies valued at over US$390,000, to the Ophthalmology Department at KPH. These are expected to be handed over to the hospital later this week.