• 2022 China - South Africa Ophthalmology & Optometry Advanced Training Program sees new chapter for BRI and closer cooperation between China, South Africa
  • Author:Jin Chenhui, School of Ophthalmology & Optometry    Date:November 7, 2022
  • Recently, with the vigorous support of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Wenzhou Medical University, Eye Hospital of WMU, and Sefako Makgatho Health Science University (SMU) co-organized the "China-South Africa Ophthalmology & Optometry Advanced Training Program", responding to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s call of “advancing high-quality joint development of the Belt and Road in the field of life and health, and promoting the development of a human community with a shared future” in the report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC. The training program aimed to help improve the ophthalmic diagnosis and treatment techniques in South Africa and popularize the theories and methods of optometry through training courses and academic exchanges.

    On October 29, Mr. Shen Long, Minister-Counsellor for Science and Technology of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Prof. Tandi Matsha-Erasmus, vice president of Sefako Makgatho Health Science University, Prof. Jin Shengwei, vice president of Wenzhou Medical University, heads of the International Affairs Office, Eye Hospital, and relevant departments of WMU attended the opening ceremony.

    WMU Vice President Jin Shengwei affirmed and appreciated the organization and support of both sides. He said that WMU has been working closely with African countries in talent training, medical cooperation, and other aspects. About 650 foreign students from African countries have graduated from WMU and become bridges to promote friendly cooperation and exchanges between China and Africa. The training program will be a good start for the cooperation between the two universities. It is hoped that in the future, the two sides will deepen cooperation in more areas and promote the development of a China-Africa community with a shared future.

    Shen Long said that China and South Africa have established a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. The 10-year strategic plan on cooperation signed by the two sides in March this year provides guiding principles for cooperation in various fields. In the past two decades, the scientific and technological innovation cooperation between China and South Africa has yielded fruitful results. President Xi Jinping announced that China would work closely with African countries to implement the “nine programs” for China-Africa cooperation. The first program of the nine programs is the medical and health program, which will build on the existing solid foundation and continue to promote medical cooperation projects and strengthen the construction of a China-Africa community of health for all. The "China-South Africa Ophthalmology & Optometry Advanced Training Program" will lay a good foundation for the follow-up joint scientific research and medical cooperation between the two sides.

    SMU Vice President Prof. Tandi Mattha-Erasmus pointed out that the "China-South Africa Ophthalmology & Optometry Advanced Training Program" is the first joint technical and knowledge training conducted by SMU and WMU, which is of special significance. SMU is the only university in South Africa that focuses on health science and an important source of health science knowledge and technology locally. She believed that the cooperation and exchanges with Wenzhou Medical University would promote the knowledge exchange between the two sides and put what we have learned into practice.

    Zhang Jian, secretary of the Party committee of the Eye Hospital affiliated to WMU, said that in response to the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind, the Eye Hospital has carried out many cooperation projects with African countries, promoting win-win development. The hospital has sent medical teams to Africa many times, recruited many African students to take courses in China, and provided postgraduate programs for students and clinical training for young doctors. The opening of this training program also marked a new milestone for our friendship with the African people

    At the opening ceremony, Wu Wencan, president of the Eye Hospital, WMU, introduced Wenzhou Medical University, its unique ophthalmology & optometry discipline, and the development of the School of Ophthalmology & Optometry and Eye Hospital, WMU, to teachers and students in South Africa. Prof. Robert Stegman also introduced the development and achievements of Sefako Makgatho Health Science University and the affiliated Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital.

    The "China-South Africa Ophthalmology & Optometry Advanced Training Program" was held from October 29 to 30. A high-level teaching team was jointly organized by the two schools to teach young doctors in South Africa. Teaching contents included the latest technologies in ophthalmology and rhinology, corneal transplantation, glaucoma, fundus diseases and other fields. Given that the development of optometry is relatively weak in South Africa, the program focused on the characteristics of ophthalmology and optometry, myopia prevention and control, low vision and visual rehabilitation, contact microscopy, dry eye, and other topics. More than 30 young doctors from South Africa participated in the two-day training program and were deeply impressed and inspired by China's advanced and innovative ophthalmic technology.

    Text translated by DaWaPuChi and reviewed by Sun You