13 August 2018

Wenzhou Medical University provides assistance to communities in mountainous areas of China

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), as part of its continous outreach efforts about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), shares this story related to Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages​, submitted by Wenzhou Medical University, a UNAI member institution located in the People's Republic of China. 


13 August 2018Wenzhou Medical University (China), a higher education institution under the administration of the Zhejiang Provincial Government of the People's Republic of China and a member institution of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) with medical programmes as its core harmonized by multi-disciplinary areas adapted to regional needs, has partnered with Lions Clubs China, the national Chinese civil charity organization, to dispatch teams consisting of professional doctors and medical students to underdeveloped areas.

This has been done with the aim of offering medical assistance to the population living in those critical areas of the country. Sichuan, Tibet and Qihai plateau are indeed mountainous areas whose extreme weather, difficulties for transportation, and low density of oxygen have led to a lack of medical practitioners and to a lagged development of medical care overall. For instance, the institution has focused part of its efforts in Nagqu, a town with a population of half million people located in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The town has an average of 4,500 meters height and it is widely considered to have one of the worst weather conditions in the whole country. Nagqu is located on the southern slope of the Tanggula Mountains, with a dry climate and an annual average temperature is −2.1°C. Other towns visited by Wenzhou Medical University share similar characteristics. Despite the several environmental challenges and limitations prevalent in these areas, the teams composed of professionals and students have managed to provide medical assistance to the population.

Fom 2012, medical teams of this university and in particular of its Affiliated Eye Hospital which specializes in the study and treatment in the fields of ophthalmology and optometry, has travelled to Sichuan, Tibet and Qihai annually in order to bring health and brightness to the people. Such medical assistance has included but it has not been limited to general health examinations, ophthalmopathy screenings, medical diagnosis and treatments, and ophthalmic surgeries for patients, by establishing a medical treatment station and implementing a mobile operating vehicle.

Local residents, doctors and nurses have also received various short-term training to enhance their knowledge about eye protection. Classes targeting doctors aimed also to improve their operational skills. Overall, from 2012 to 2017, the Brightness project of Wenzhou Medical University has attracted almost 200 doctors and nurses and has completed over 19,000 cases of eye disease screening, performed almost 1,900 ophthalmic operations and helped with the creation of at least two operation rooms and two eye centers.

That aside, the university has also engaged in the distribution of hundreds of prescription glasses and high altitude sunglasses -as exposure to solar radiation increases on average by 10% with every 1,000 meters of altitude. Wenzhou Medical University is trying to seize more opportunities to send medical talents to areas in need of medical assistance, improving local medicine conditions and making efforts to create a healthier future for the local communities, specially in rural areas with geographic challenges.