China's GX Foundation signed here on Tuesday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help eliminate cataract blindness in Cambodia.

The MoU on the cataract blindness elimination project was inked between Leung Chun-ying, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and chairman of GX Foundation, and Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng under the presence of Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Leung said the MoU formalized and marked the beginning of the foundation's efforts in helping eliminate cataract blindness in Cambodia.

"China and Cambodia have maintained strong and cordial relations on all levels and in all areas," he said. "The launch of GX Foundation's first international program in (southeastern) Prey Veng province further reinforces the common goals of our two countries."

"Under the program, the Foundation will provide surgical operations free of costs to restore eyesight of all cataract blind patients in Prey Veng, thereby eliminating cataract blindness in the province," Leung said.

GX Foundation is a Chinese non-profit and non-governmental organization registered in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with the object of providing humanitarian aid in the public health sector, Leung said, adding that it was established in 2018 to realize people-to-people connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Minister Bunheng said cataract is considered as a major eye health concern in the Southeast Asian country, and that the project is very important to help restore eyesight for cataract patients in Cambodia.

"It causes 74.7 percent of blindness, and we need more resources to combat this problem including human resources as well as modern equipment and technologies," the minister said.

"I strongly believe that signing the MoU today will bring public and private sectors, and academia from both countries, China and Cambodia, to work closely together to eradicate cataract blindness in Prey Veng province and eventually in the whole Cambodia in the near future," he added.

Meanwhile, Bunheng highly spoke of the ongoing cataract blindness elimination project in southeastern Kampong Cham province, saying that Cambodian medical teams had learnt a lot from their Chinese counterparts.

To date, the project has provided the consultation of eye health problem to about 10,504 patients and has operated cataract on 4,961 patients, he said.

Ambassador Wang said the project is a new step of GX Foundation's participation in the BRI construction.

"It is not only enriching the content of China-Cambodia BRI cooperation, but also promoting the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries," he said.

He added that assistance in medical care is an important part of China-Cambodia pragmatic cooperation.

Besides helping construct friendship hospitals in Cambodia, China has been providing medical care to Cambodian people in various forms, ranging from eradicating cataract, fighting malaria to medical operation for child patients of cardiovascular diseases, the ambassador said.

"The Chinese side has always been attaching importance to the promotion of Cambodian people's health standard through providing grants and supports to improve the country's public health and sanitary conditions," he said.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council