(Beijing, 5 November 2009) The Ministry of Civil Affairs today announced a joint venture with the Li Ka-shing Foundation to launch the Paediatric Hernia Rehabilitation Programme in Qinghai, Gansu and Ningxia to provide free operations for children suffering from hernia. The Foundation will commit up to RMB 50 million to provide free surgeries for tens of thousands of children ages 2-14. In its first year, this pioneering programme is expected to benefit approximately 6,000 children from impoverished families. The scheme will be introduced in other provinces in western China pending a positive assessment of the results.
The Paediatric Hernia Rehabilitation Programme follows the success of Project New Life Nationwide Cleft Lip and Palate Program, an ongoing collaboration between the Li Ka-shing Foundation and the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Mr. Li Ka-shing, Chairman of the Foundation, said, “As always, the Foundation is pleased to support innovative community welfare programmes that have the potential to serve as a model for transformative change. With the advanced medical knowledge and techniques available today, paediatric hernia is not difficult ailment to treat. However, if gone untreated, it could impede a young person’s healthy growth and development and could even develop into a life-threatening illness. This programme eliminates that threat.” The Foundation hopes that this programme will also help raise awareness to the plight of the underprivileged in China’s western Provinces.
Mr. Dou Yupei, Vice Minister of Civil Affairs, said during the launch ceremony, “Mr. Li made the decision to support the project within three minutes after listening to a joint briefing by the Foundation and a specialist committee of the Ministry of Civil Affairs about the hernia programme in Qinghai. Mr. Li also suggested to expand the programme to Gansu and Ningxia. On behalf of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, I would like to express my highest regard for Mr. Li’s generosity and compassion.
“This project represents a continuing partnership between a Government branch and a private charitable foundation. It is also a continuing realization of Mr. Li’s wish to support worthwhile community projects. It is our sincere hope that more people will come to the aid of underprivileged children through whatever means they can.”
The Li Ka-shing Foundation will sponsor the cost of operation for each patient, while the Ministry of Civil Affairs will oversee the implementation and management of the project to ensure the highest quality of care. Local branches of the Ministry will work with the respective health departments to identify and select top hospitals where the operations will be performed.