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Hospital train brings hope via surgery

China Daily

27th November 2023

Hospital train brings hope via surgery

By Wang Xiaoyu

Doctors perform cataract operations to improve the lives of people in isolated areas. Wang Xiaoyu reports from Korla, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Nizamdin Arxidin barely speaks Mandarin, but he has traveled extensively across China because he used to make his living by selling naan bread, a staple food for people from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

However, the 68-year-old's travels were abruptly cut short about six years ago due to his fading eyesight, which had deteriorated because of cataracts.

Although an operation on his left eye was successful, the cataract in his right eye was so severe that it couldn't be treated by any of the doctors in his hometown of Korla in Xinjiang's Bayingolin Mongol autonomous prefecture.

In June, though, he was told that skilled specialists would treat him for free on a hospital train.

"It was almost unbelievable that I got an operation on a train, free of charge," he said. "Now I am finally able to see things clearly through both eyes, I will definitely make naan again after I have made a full recovery."

The hospital train, part of the Lifeline Express fleet, arrived at Korla in early May. By late July, it had completed its mission of conducting operations for more than 1,000 cataract patients. The train is currently offering services in Shaoguan, Guangdong province, its final stop of the year.

Lifeline Express was launched in 1997 by Hong Kong residents to commemorate the city's return to China.

As a result of the project, more than 230,000 cataract patients who live in areas with poor healthcare services have regained full vision.

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