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  • Chris McMillan

Feature: Hong Kong's Health Express brings gift of sight to mainland and

In a train adorned with vibrant rainbow colors, a remarkable sight unfolds. This train, consisting of four cars -- a surgical car, a ward car, a power car, and a camp car -- houses advanced ophthalmic medical equipment. It travels through impoverished regions in China's mainland, providing free cataract surgeries to those in need.


On board, a team of exceptional eye care professionals from both Hong Kong and the mainland take turns delivering their services. This extraordinary train is known as the "Health Express," a mobile eye hospital that has been operating for 26 years.

Since its inception, Health Express has grown from a single train to a fleet of four, expanding from the train itself to outreach programs on the ground. Its impact has transcended national borders, extending its services to 28 provincial-level regions in the Chinese mainland and five countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), bringing light and hope to over 230,000 cataract patients


It is conceived as a gift from Hong Kong to the mainland during the historic moment of Hong Kong's return to the motherland in 1997.


"As the eve of Hong Kong's return approached, regions across the country were preparing gifts to commemorate the occasion. At that time, I was serving on the Preparatory Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and I felt that Hong Kong should also give back to our mainland compatriots," said Nellie Fong, the founding chairperson of the Health Express.


Thus, on July 1, 1997, the inaugural Health Express train departed from Hong Kong, embarking on a journey to remote areas of the Chinese mainland, illuminating the path to a brighter future.


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