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Sinopec to help more than 1,000 cataract sufferers

By Zheng Xin and Zheng Yiran | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-29 07:47

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, has donated 140 million yuan ($20.5 million) in the past 10 years to help cataract patients with eye surgery in Xinjiang.

The world's biggest refiner set up a mobile hospital called the Sinopec Lifeline Express, an eye surgery training complex and 16 therapeutic centers for cataracts.

Serving as a mobile ophthalmic hospital, the lifeline express has traveled to 18 outlying areas including the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Tibet autonomous region, Qinghai province and Sichuan province. It has provided free medical care to over 38,000 cataract patients.

It recently traveled to Kashgar in the south of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in May, having helped 680 local cataract patients and will conduct 1,100 eye operations.

Feng Yun, deputy chief physician of ophthalmology at the Peking University Third Hospital, was invited to operate in Kashgar. Many renowned ophthalmologist doctors and nurses nationwide were also responsible for the early screening and postoperative reviews.

Feng has worked in the mobile hospital for two stops in Xinjiang so far, overcoming communications difficulties and enabling the cataract patients to gain sight again.

In addition to the medical team, staff of Sinopec's Kashgar branch have volunteered to helped patients and doctors.

The Kashgar city of Xinjiang was a vital transportation and commercial hub located along the ancient Silk Road, connecting Asia and Europe. With the rise of economic activities under the Belt and Road Initiative, the city is facing strategic opportunities, Sinopec said.

The company has donated to the region four times in the past few years, including a cataract treatment center in 2010.

China has 5 million patients awaiting cataract surgery with a growth rate of 10 percent annually, but only 600,000 are performed a year.

It is estimated that 80 percent of people who need treatment for cataracts live in rural areas and are unable to receive surgery for various reasons, while 70 percent of China's 24,000 eye doctors live and work in cities.

The Lifeline Express is a charity project set up for suffer of the condition by the Chinese Lifeline Express Foundation, and is the only ophthalmologic hospital based on a train.

By now, four sets of trains have been put into use and the Sinopec Lifeline Express is the only one built entirely with donations from domestic enterprises.

The train carries the most advanced cataract treatment equipment and a well-trained medical team, traveling to three local areas every year to cure 3,000 patients.

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