GX has identified “Healthy Ageing” as its first underlying theme for its activities in the next five years. The 60+ population will double globally by 2050 which has far-reaching implications for humanitarian medical needs.
GX has prioritised cataract blindness in resource deficit communities as the first, primary intervention strategy. Affecting 18 million people globally, cataract blindness is reversible through a well-established surgical procedure, the outcome of which is transformative and impactful. It is the major cause of blindness, accounting for half of visual impairment worldwide affecting mostly the elderly. As the world’s population ages, the number of cataract blindness cases will grow, disproportionately affecting rural areas of developing countries. The WHO estimates that the rates of blindness in low- and middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia are eight times higher than high income countries.
GX aims to launch Cataract Blindness Elimination Projects to clear backlog cases in three countries along the Belt and Road region which includes Cambodia, Laos, and Djibouti with Mobile Eye Treatment Centres (METC) and professional medical teams from China. The projects are designed in partnership with local Ministries of Health, Chinese enterprises, and health organisations, and will in parallel address gaps in local capacity and infrastructure.