BEIJING, Nov. 19, 2010 /PRNewswire-Asia/-- The launching ceremony for the "2010 China-Africa Brightness Action" was held at Deer Jet's fix base operation (FBO), Beijing Capital International Airport on November 18. The charitable initiative, co-organized by the China Association for Promoting Democracy (CAPD), the National Committee of Blindness Prevention (NCBP), China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE), HNA Group, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) and Beijing Tongren Hospital, will give patients with cataracts in Malawi and Zimbabwe, two countries in Southeast Africa, access to free vision rehabilitation surgeries for a week. Over 100 guests including the Malawi Ambassador to China, Zimbabwe Ambassador to China, WHO Representative in China, as well as officials from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Health, and journalists were all present at the ceremony.
The 20-plus medical team consisting of professionals from NCBP and Beijing Tongren Hospital headed for Africa via a charter flight operated by HNA Group's Deer Jet on the afternoon of November 18. After nearly 23 hours in flight, the professionals will perform free cataract surgeries for patients in Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The "2010 China-Africa Brightness Action" was formed to perform about 1,000 cataract surgeries within approximately a week's time. Local government departments and health authorities as well as China's embassies in the two countries will be instrumental in helping the short-handed medical team to perform surgeries amid an unfamiliar environment. China's embassies in the two countries are giving the initiative the utmost attention, and Pan Hejun, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, and Xin Shunkang, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, have been personally engaged in the planning and organization of the initiative, and have been in close contact with China's domestic organizers and the local governments of the two countries to ensure the medical team achieve their goal. Besides, the local governments and health authorities also have pulled out all the stops to facilitate all the preparations concerning the charitable event.
Chen Feng, Board Chairman of HNA Group, said that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. For years, Chinese companies have been a significant contributor to the infrastructure development and public medical and health care services in Africa, bringing local people real, tangible benefits and laying a sold foundation for China and Africa to continue to deepen their cooperation. With the care and support from the African government and people, Chinese companies including HNA Group also have experienced fast expansion in Africa. The "2010 China-Africa Brightness Action" is part of the efforts of Chinese companies like HNA Group in rewarding African people.
According to incomplete statistics from the WHO, there is an estimated 314 million people worldwide who are visually disabled. Of these, 45 million persons are blind, including 20 million blind suffering from cataract. In 1999, WHO launched the "VISION 2020 -- The Right to Sight, a global strategic initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness. NCBP kicked off the "Brightness Action" in 2003, an initiative designed for blindness prevention and treatment, and as a result, over 30,000 poor cataract patients received free surgeries in former revolutionary bases, areas inhabited by minority nationalities, remote and border and poverty-stricken districts. China again launched an ophthalmological care action targeting its neighboring countries in 2008 by sending Brightness Action medical teams to introduce state-of-the-art eye care technologies into countries including North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Bengal to enhance the friendship between China and its neighbors.
HNA Group joined hands with NCBP and Beijing Tongren Hospital to kick off the "HNA- Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 10 Year Brightness Action" in Qinghai province in July 2004. Since then, more than 3,000 poor cataract patients of various ethnic groups have received free surgeries in Banma and Nangqian, Qinghai province; Lhasa, Rikeze, Linzhi, Tibet; Litang, Sichuan province, Xinganmeng, Bayan Nur League, Alashanzuo Banner in Alashan League, Inner Mongolia; Korla, Xinjiang; and Linyao and Xiahe, Gansu province. The action received high praises from local government officials and residents.
The "2010 China-Africa Brightness Action" will enable more cataract patients to regain vision, while boosting the development of the public health care services in Africa. It is not only the first large-scale private charitable initiative launched by Chinese companies in Africa, but also an important step in Chinese companies' reward for African people. The initiative will consolidate the friendship between China and Malawi and Zimbabwe and even Africa, bringing significant, far-reaching benefits to the people of both China and Africa.
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