FREETOWN, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese medical team from Hunan Province on Tuesday launched free cataract surgeries in Sierra Leone.
The Brightness Trip project was launched in the Eastern District city of Kenema and would target more than 200 patients.
A total of 57 surgeries were successfully done on the first day. The team of six senior ophthalmologists and nurses from Hunan would spend 30 days conducting the free surgeries.
Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Wu Peng said at the launching ceremony that the project aims to help people who are suffering from cataract to regain their sight.
"We all know that it is a big misfortune to lose the sight in one's life. We know it brings tremendous happiness to regain the ability to see. In the next couple of weeks, it is exactly this kind of happiness that the Chinese doctors will bring to the Sierra Leonean people," he said.
He said they took the project to Kenema to benefit patients outside Freetown and improve the capacity of primary care in the area.
Peng Zhenguo, a health official from Hunan, said this is the sixth project they have undertaken in Sierra Leone. In addition to the free surgeries, they have donated medicines and medical equipment to the Kenema Hospital to strengthen its capacity.
He said the relationship between Sierra Leone and China dated back to 1973 and many Sierra Leoneans have benefited from cooperative medical projects.
Director of Hospitals and Ambulance Services in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Mathew Vandy thanked the Chinese government for helping local people regain their sight.
The Brightness Trip project is sponsored by China's National Health Commission and implemented by the Hunan Provincial Health Department and local institutions in Sierra Leone.