In the most populated country in the world, China, more than half a billion people live outside of urban areas and many do not have access to the same quality of health care as those who live within the cities.
This is one reason why Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, has collaborated with China Children and Teenagers’ Fund (CCTF) and Xi’an Kingtone Information Technology Co., Ltd., (Xi’an Kingtone) to implement the Mobile Vision Project – a mobile health project that utilizes a customized 3G-enabled mobile application to assist doctors in the screening and treatment of children with amblyopia in underserved communities in China.
According to the National Eye Institute, Amblyopia, sometimes called “lazy eye,” is the most common cause of vision impairment in childhood. Despite a high number of children with amblyopia in China, rural clinicians often lack knowledge about how to properly diagnose and treat this disease. Proper diagnosis is critical because the American Optometric Association tells us that, if caught early, amblyopia is treatable, but if not treated it can become a lifelong disability.
On April 10th, we announced the Mobile Vision Project in Beijing with special guests from CCTF, Qualcomm, Xi’an Kingtone, Hengshui Telecom, Hengshui Women’s Federation and representatives from Hengshui Second People's Hospital. The event highlighted our vision and commitment to leveraging 3G technologies to improve lives. Other speakers discussed their roles in the project and their perspectives on the importance of using wireless medical services to extend resources to China’s medically underserved areas.
Working alongside the partners to implement this project is personally fulfilling because my youngest sister was affected by the condition. Luckily, she was diagnosed early enough and today has normal vision, unlike many children around the world. I am very proud to be able to participate in this bi-national program to enable health care professionals with the same access to information that helped prevent my sister from facing long-term visual impairment.
Through the project, select rural clinics in Hengshui City, Hebei Province, are receiving the mobile health care application, Snapdragon-enabled smartphones, Internet-ready PCs and laptops, as well as technical and medical training for doctors and participants.
The Mobile Vision Project is currently being implemented at the Maternal and Child Care Service Center in Hengshui City and 50 public health centers in the surrounding areas, serving approximately 400,000 children and teenagers up to the age of 14. Since the implementation began in October 2011, more than 1,000 children have been screened with 59 percent of the exams resulting in a diagnosis of amblyopia.