Forging New Partnerships on the Silk Road

Regional Program Manager, Western Pacific
Organisation: International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

Story: Chaoju Eye Hospital /Image: Drew Keys presents Steve Zhang with a copy of the IAPB Vision Atlas

Amidst the traditional Mongolian style roofs and towering minarets of Hohhot’s Muslim Quarter sits Chaoju Eye Hospital. Hohhot is the capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region – a huge swathe of desert and grasslands that shares history and culture with its northern neighbour: Mongolia. Steve Zhang, the CEO of Chaoju and my host for this visit, explains that when his father, Zhang Chaoju, founded Chaoju Group in neighbouring Baotou thirty years ago, his vision was to bring ophthalmology to this relatively isolated and underdeveloped region of the country.

在呼和浩特市回民区林立的传统蒙古风格屋顶和高耸的尖塔之中,坐落着朝聚眼科医院。呼和浩特是内蒙古自治区的首府,与北方邻国蒙古共享着一片广袤的沙漠和草原。朝聚眼科医院集团总裁,亦即我本次访问的主持人Steve张解释说,他的父亲张朝聚三十年前在邻近的包头市创立朝聚眼科集团时,有一个愿景,就是要将眼科带到这个相对孤立和不发达的地区。

Today it’s easy to see the vision being realised. Chaouju Group has state of the art hospitals  – addressing the increasing burdens of cataract, DR and Myopia – in a number of provinces across China. But more importantly, the hospitals’ cataract teams still work to bring services to the rural population. The numbers of patients seen are very large; in the seven Chaoju hospitals in Inner Mongolia, half a million patients are seen annually and 20,000 cataract surgeries conducted.

今天我们看到这一愿景正在一步一步地实现。朝聚集团在中国的许多省份都拥有非常先进的医院——解决了这些省份日益增加的白内障,糖尿病视网膜病和近视带来的负担。更重要的是,医院的白内障小组致力于为偏远地区人口提供服务。他们服务的患者人数众多,仅在内蒙古的七家朝聚医院,每年就要诊治多达50万名患者,实施白内障手术2万余次。

We attend the Belt and Road Brightness Journey Prevention of Blindness Forum and learn about the numerous successful programmes that Chaoju eye health teams are involved in. Of particular interest is the close collaboration between Chaoju and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (ICRC) of Inner Mongolia. Steve credits much of Chaoju’s outreach success to the wise stewardship or the ICRC and Chairwoman Wong. It’s a unique partnership; one I am yet to come across elsewhere in the region. Red Cross field teams conduct medical outreach to remote parts of the province. Whilst servicing the community with medical visits they make lists of cataract patients. This is often in remote parts of the province, which would otherwise be challenged to find means of identifying and pre-screening the population. Once the Red Cross teams provide the lists, the Chaoju teams follow with surgical intervention.

我们参加了“一带一路”送光明国际防盲公益活动论坛,了解了许多朝聚眼科团队参与的成功项目。让我特别感兴趣的是朝聚眼科集团与内蒙古自治区红十字会与红新月会(ICRC)的紧密合作关系。Steve将朝聚对偏远地区推广项目的成功大部分归功于红十字会和王会长的智慧引领。这种独特的合作关系,我在该地区的其他地方还未遇到过。红十字会的当地小组负责为该省偏远地区的人们开展和提供医疗服务。在为这些社区提供医疗服务的同时,他们会列出白内障患者名单。如果没有他们,想要在这些偏远地区预先筛选出需要帮助的患者将不是一件容易的事。一旦红十字会小组提供了名单,朝聚的医疗团队就会为相应患者实施后续的手术干预。

When Madam Wong presents, her passion is evident. She tells us that her dream is to see knowledge brought to the people through a school-screening programme. Particularly, she would like children to learn early about the importance of eye health, about myopia and the ways to protect their eyes. She talks of her desire to expand the Red Cross programme north of the border into Mongolia. Also presenting is Dr Chimgee Chuluungkuu, President of the Mongolia Ophthalmology Society. She warmly welcomes the idea of greater trans-border collaboration and outlines some of the difficulties faced in her vast and lightly-populated homeland.

当王会长演讲时,她对这一事业的激情显而易见。她告诉我们,她的梦想是通过学校筛选计划进行宣传教育,将知识带给人们。她特别强调,希望孩子们能够早日了解眼睛健康的重要性,学习关于近视的知识和保护眼睛的方法。她还谈到,希望将红十字会计划扩展到边界以北的蒙古国。蒙古国眼科协会主席Chimgee Chuluunkhuu博士也发表了演讲,她热烈欢迎加强跨界合作的想法,并概述了她广阔而人口稀少的家园所面临的挑战。

Steve Zhang is delighted as we adjourn – the presentations have attracted much needed media attention and all advocacy support is appreciated. ICRC, Chaoju, IAPB, Mongolian Ophthalmology Society… new friendships forged, new partnerships developed. All in the name of eye health in this land astride the Silk Road. Zhang Chaoju’s vision is coming to fruition.

论坛结束后,Steve 张很高兴——这些演讲获得了大量的媒体关注,所有的宣传都有着宝贵的价值。在这片跨越丝绸之路的土地上,以促进眼部健康为共同目标,国际红十字委员会(ICRC),朝聚眼科集团,国际防盲协会(IAPB),蒙古国眼科协会(MOS)……建立了新的友谊,发展了新的伙伴关系。张朝聚的愿景即将实现。

http://www.hhhttzb.gov.cn/index.php?m=Show&a=index&cid=14&id=195

Image on top:  Drew Keys presents Steve Zhang with a copy of the IAPB Vision Atlas