- Title: ZIMBABWE: Chinese surgeons carry out free cataract operations
- Date: 4th April 2011
- Summary: CHITUNGWIZA, ZIMBABWE (MARCH 22, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PATIENTS WAITING IN CHITUNGWIZA HOSPITAL BONIFACE MACHEKA, ZIMBABWEAN DOCTOR WITH CHINESE SURGEONS AND PATIENT VARIOUS OF PATIENTS BEING PREPARED FOR SURGERY CHINESE SURGEON (SOUNDBITE) (English) BONIFACE MACHEKA, ZIMBABWEAN DOCTOR SAYING: "This is the second programme that is happening, the first one treated about 308 patients, what it has just done is it has accelerated the numbers of patients that are operated in a short space of time. For us as a country our limitations are really equipment and logistics, supplies." OPERATION IN PROGRESS CHINESE SURGEON LOOKING THROUGH MAGNIFYING GLASS (SOUNDBITE) (English) BONIFACE MACHEKA, ZIMBABWEAN DOCTOR SAYING: "Yes, they have made a big difference because we have accelerated the number, because 500 in one week, it's a big number." VARIOUS OF PATIENTS WITH EYE PATCHES IN WAITING ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (Shona) ARON CHAMUNORWA, PATIENT SAYING: "It's been 8 years, in 2004 I had the other eye operated on, this time the other one is also operated, now all my eyes are good, everything went well, this programme has helped." MORE OF PATIENTS MAN WALKING DOWN HOSPITAL CORRIDOR HOSPITAL EXTERIOR CHINESE AND ZIMBABWEAN FLAGS OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL
- Embargoed: 19th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
- Country: Zimbabwe
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVAELVANNJM0P3B45R9TTBG3LGTR
- Story Text: In the corridor waiting room of Chitungwiza hospital, 20 kilometres outside the capital Harare, elderly patients wait to have their eyes operated on by Chinese surgeons.
The doctors who will carry out the procedure are offering their services for free as part of a series of cataract programs arranged by the government in Beijing.
So far, the Chinese doctors have treated 300 patients at Chitungwiza, through the medical tour named 'The trip of Brightness'.
The project, completed in week-long phases, targets mainly old people in rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe, where blindness through cataracts is a common problem.
"This is the second programme that is happening, the first one treated about 308 patients, what it has just done is it has accelerated the numbers of patients that are operated in a short space of time. For us as a country our limitations are really equipment and logistics, supplies," said Zimbabwean doctor, Boniface Macheka.
He said the Chinese surgeons are aiming to complete 500 operations before finishing the current phase, which would significantly increase people's chances of getting treated in the region.
"Yes, they (the Chinese) have made a big difference because we have accelerated the number, because 500 in one week, it's a big number," he said.
One patient treated last week was 59-year-old Aaron Chamunorwa.
"It's been eight years, in 2004 I had the other eye operated on, this time the other one is also operated, now all my eyes are good, everything went well, this programme has helped," he said, speaking in the hospital corridors shortly after having his eye operated on.
The visit by the Chinese doctors comes after China gave Zimbabwe a concessionary loan of 102 million US dollars, announced by the Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Wang Qishan in Harare in the past few weeks.
China and Zimbabwe's partnership goes back to the 1970s when Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe fought as a Maoist rebel leader against white rule, fostering a political and ideological connection between the two nations that has lasted well into the 21st century.
More recently, China is said to have helped Mugabe counter UN sanctions, supplying him with weapons used to fight off his opposition and even helping to build his presidential palace.
In the last few years the two countries have developed strong trade and industrial ties with Chinese companies investing heavily in Zimbabwean infrastructure, mining, property and construction sectors.
China has become the main purchaser of Zimbabwean tobacco, which last year earned the country more the 300 million US dollars.
Last year trade with China was worth 520 million US dollars.
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