October 30, 2021 | Sustainability

Jebsen Group Launches Phase III of the Project Morning Star Programme, Continuing to Help Improve Eye Health in China


Mr Joachim Eberlein, Managing Director of Jebsen Motors (second from left) handed over the cheque to Ms Wang Zhiyun, Chairman of Shanghai United Foundation (second from right), Mr Zhou Leisi, Director of SEDPTC (first from right), Mr Peter Xu, Country Director of Orbis China (first from left) in the launch ceremony of the third phase of “Project Morning Star”.

Jebsen Group, a leading brand builder and focused marketing, investment and distribution organisation in Greater China, today announced the launch of the third phase of “Project Morning Star”. In Phase III of the programme, Jebsen will partner with Shanghai United Foundation, the well-known subsidised publica foundation in the Chinese mainland, and Orbis, an international non-profit organisation, investing RMB 7 million to provide support for improving the eye health and vision care of children in China.

With one of the world’s largest[1] populations of blind and visually impaired people, China was one of the first countries to commit to the “VISION 2020” global action plan. Under the Healthy China Initiative, the government, business industries and society as a whole worked together to improve eye health during the 13th Five Year Plan period. Consequently, there was rapid improvement in this field, with a dramatic reduction in the main diseases that cause blindness[2]. Today, continuing to improve the service systems for blindness prevention and eye care, especially among children, remains a top priority for China. By 2030[3], its goal of substantially reducing the new rate of myopia in children and adolescents is expected to be reached.

Partnering with Orbis, Jebsen Group launched Project Morning Star in 2011 in the Chinese mainland to provide primary ophthalmic medical services for preventing and curing blindness in developing areas. So far, two phases, each spanning five years, have been completed successfully. With a focus on tackling vision problems in children, Phase III of the programme will replicate Shanghai’s successful model in Ningxia and other areas, building an extensive eye health network, providing further important training to paediatric ophthalmology professionals nationwide and ultimately, contributing to the progress of China’s eye health in a sustainable way. “At Jebsen, we integrate economic, social and environmental considerations into every aspect of our strategic and operational decisions. Through a series of corporate social responsibility activities, we strive to help people in need and make a difference in the world. The past ten years of the Project Morning Star programme serves as the best example of our endeavour to enhance social well-being,” said Alfons Mensdorff, CEO of Jebsen Group. “I envision that the latest phase of the project will help China’s younger generation lead a healthier and more colourful life. By establishing systems and building service network capacities, I believe that the project will further support the sustainable development of eye health across the nation.”

After the kick-off ceremony, Jebsen Group hosted the “Visually Impaired Fun Sports Day”. The visually impaired children and their families shared a pleasant morning with Jebsen volunteers.

Phase III of the Project Morning Star programme will focus on children’s eye disorders, such as uncorrected refractive error and high myopia. Working with the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Centre (SEDPTC), the programme will set up an international paediatric eye health resource and training centre to provide training to optometrists and paediatric ophthalmologists on the prevention and treatment of childhood blindness and low vision. Meanwhile, the programme will also explore ways of establishing a replicable and successful model for myopia prevention in children. In collaboration with the People’s Hospital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the programme aims to strengthen the teaching capacity of Ningxia Eye Hospital, build a sustainable service network for local children and establish a multi-sector rehabilitative model that is replicable in other developing areas.

The five-year Phase III programme will proceed in three stages. By 2025, sub-centres in seven counties in Ningxia will be set up to strengthen their primary healthcare capabilities in paediatric ophthalmology. Training will be provided to 180 eye health professionals and 30 special education teachers to accommodate the needs of children with visual impairment and/or multiple disabilities. In addition, 256,000 children will benefit from the programme by receiving vision screenings and 3,220 pairs of glasses. 60 children with visual impairment and/or multiple disabilities will receive appropriate service of medical care, rehabilitation and education at home. The success of Project Morning Star is due to the collaboration between and contributions from many parties. From 2011 to 2020, Jebsen committed an investment of over RMB 12.55 million to the programme’s first two phases, providing cataract surgeries to more than 20,000 people, eye disease screenings and eye health education to nearly 2.3 million people, and training to nearly 2,000 primary medical staff. Additionally, more than 1,000 Jebsen volunteers have visited the developing areas served by the programme, proactively contributing to the volunteering services there.

From 2011 to 2020, Jebsen committed an investment of over RMB 12.55 million to the “Project Morning Start” programme, supporting the ophthalmic primary care in the underprivileged region in China. The programme has benefited more than 2.3 million people for 10 years.

[1] Source: People.cn

[2] Source: Government website

[3] Source: Website of Ministry of Education