China’s health system has undergone many reforms over the last few years, including the introduction of rural health insurance, which is widely utilized. However, co-pays are high and the cost of healthcare remains a major burden for many Chinese people. This is particularly true in rural areas where healthcare infrastructure and personnel are lacking compared with urban areas. China is estimated to have the largest number of blind people in the world—around 8.2 million or one out of every five blind. As with most other specialty care providers, surgically skilled ophthalmologists are disproportionately located and practicing in urban areas, while a majority of the blind live in rural areas.
Since establishing a permanent office in
China in 1999, ORBIS has been working hard to find sustainable solutions to the lack of quality, affordable and accessible eye care services for the rural poor, particularly in western
China’s remote ethnic minority areas. We are doing this by raising public awareness of eye health and building the capacity of our local partners.
When Guang Wen Duan's wife passed away, Duan
was left as the sole caregiver of their mentally
ill son. With cataracts, though, he could no long-
er make a living. Because of the cost-recovery
and income-generating mechanisms that ORBIS
helped put in place at a nearby hospital, Duan
received free cataract surgery. He returned to
work and resumed caring for his son.
ORBIS programs in
China focus on:
In 2011, through 7 ORBIS projects:
- More than 1,600 doctors and other eye care staff received training
- Over 820,000 people received eye examinations/screenings
- Over 360,000 adults and children received non-surgical ophthalmic medical treatment
- More than 27,000 eye surgeries/lasers were performed
Achievements to date
By the end of 2011, our achievements in
An ORBIS doctor examines a young
patient before several trainees in
- Strengthening the relationship with the Ministry of Health which has strong potential for 2 bilateral projects in the areas of Diabetic Retinopathy and ROP. The MOH is hopeful that the government will scale to a national level.
- Leading and driving a collaborative effort in the much needed area of residency training in China and Mongolia. The collaboration in China will include: ORBIS, International Council of Ophthalmology and the Chinese Council of Ophthalmology. Flying Eye Hospital, Hospital Based Program, expanded use of Volunteer Faculty’s, and Cyber-Sight would be critical components of this project.
- Recognition as the leading blindness prevention organization in China and is considered by the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness and other nongovernmental organizations as the most capable, effective and professional blindness prevention organization in China.
*Blindness is defined as visual acuity of less than 3/60 or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 10 degrees in the better eye with best possible correction.
** Low vision is defined as visual acuity of less than 6/18 but equal to or better than 3/60, or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 20 degrees in the better eye with best possible correction.