Vision care for children focus of Project Morning Star
The third phase of a philanthropic program was launched in Shanghai over the weekend to improve the eye health and vision care of children in China.
Phase III of "Project Morning Star", with an investment of 7 million yuan (US$109,375), will focus on enhancing vision care for children, service networks and professional training.
It will be implemented by Shanghai United Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Shanghai, Orbis International, an international non-profit organization that brings people together to fight avoidable blindness, and Jebsen Group.
With one of the world's largest populations of blind and visually impaired people, China was one of the first countries to commit to the "Vision 2020" global action plan.
By 2030, the goal of substantially reducing the new rate of myopia in children and adolescents is expected to be reached.
The program was launched in 2011 on the Chinese mainland to provide primary ophthalmic medical services for preventing and curing blindness in developing areas by Orbis and Jebsen Group.
So far, two phases, each spanning five years, have been completed. It has provided cataract surgeries to more than 20,000 people, eye disease screenings and eye health education to nearly 2.3 million people, and training to nearly 2,000 primary medical staffers.
With a focus on tackling vision problems in children, Phase III will build an extensive eye health network in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and other areas and provide training to paediatric ophthalmology professionals nationwide.
It will focus on children's eye disorders, such as uncorrected refractive error and high myopia.
Working with the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center, the program will set up an international paediatric eye health resource and training center to provide training to optometrists and paediatric ophthalmologists on the prevention and treatment of childhood blindness and low vision.
By 2025, sub-centers in seven counties in Ningxia will be set up to strengthen their primary healthcare capabilities in paediatric ophthalmology.
Training will be provided to 180 eye health professionals and 30 special education teachers. In addition, about 256,000 children will benefit from the program by receiving vision screenings.