18 Jun 2010 11:10

Yunnan Province to subsidize cataract treatment

Shanghai. June 18. INTERFAX-CHINA - A scheme to provide free surgery for 200,000 low-income cataract patients has been launched in Yunnan Province, the provincial government announced at a press conference on June 17.

According to the announcement, the three-year project aims to eliminate cataract blindness in the province. Free operations will be provided for 50,000 patients this year; 100,000 in 2011; and another 50,000 in 2012.

The central government has earmarked RMB 40 million ($5.86 million) to provide a subsidy of RMB 800 ($117.12) for 50,000 low-income patients this year. Provincial authorities will provide an additional RMB 200 ($29.28) for each patient, and will also introduce measures to reduce the cost of surgical procedures under the scheme. Any remaining expenses will be covered by the national medical insurance program.

In addition, the Hong Kong charity Project Vision will donate equipment worth RMB 2 million ($292,800) to the provincial cataract center in the Second People's Hospital in Kunming City, the provincial capital; and equipment worth RMB 20 million ($2.93 million) to 20 cataract centers throughout the province. The charity also hopes to raise RMB 40 million ($5.86 million) to subsidize surgery for low-income patients in 2012.

Yunnan has a high incidence of cataract cases: there are 400,000 patients in the province, 380,000 of whom are below the poverty line.

- KY