The gift of improved sight is to be bestowed on 150 Sri Lankans under a new community initiative announced in Colombo by the China Merchants Group (CMG), the major stakeholder in Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) which manages Colombo’s third container terminal.
A Memorandum of Understanding ratified by the China Merchant Charity Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of CMG, and the Sri Lanka College of Ophthalmologists, paves the way for the donation of 150 foldable hydrophobic single piece/multi piece intraocular lenses and cartridges for 150 cataract surgeries to be performed at the National Eye Hospital, Colombo.
Valued at US $ 60,000 (about Rs 8.2 million at current rates of exchange) the consignment will be supported by the services of two international doctors who will assist the surgeons of the National Eye Hospital in the conduct of the surgeries via a charity camp.
The Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka Mr Yi Xianliang and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne graced the media conference at which the milestone project was announced.
Speaking at the formal signing of the MoU, Mr Li Xiaopeng, who is the President and Director of CMG and Honorary Director of CMG Charitable Foundation said the Sri Lanka project titled ‘C Blue Restore Sight Project’ would be one of the China Merchants Charity Foundation’s global projects in spheres such as health, education, poverty alleviation and the environment.
“We are happy to announce the official launch of C Blue Restore Sight Project, sponsored by China Merchants Charitable Foundation. Firstly, initially we will support 150 cataract extraction surgeries. followed by continued attention on improving local eye care services and ophthalmic medical conditions. Our goal is to help a greater number of impoverished, needy people see again,” Mr Li Xiaopeng said.
“We are willing to make every effort to improve livelihoods for the poor, for people struggling with eye diseases, and anyone else in need,” he said. “These shared values and goals enhance mutual understanding and build stronger ties of friendship between China Merchants and Sri Lanka.”
Dr. Pradeepa Siriwardena, President Elect of the College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka said: “The National Eye Hospital assesses the financial status of patients and maintains a register of persons in need of Intra Occular Lenses. Donors can find a patient from that list and donate the lenses directly to the patient at the National Eye Hospital. Large donations of this nature will enable us to reduce the waiting list very quickly. We therefore greatly appreciate the generosity of the China Merchant Group, and thank CICT for facilitating this valuable donation.”