Vision, something most people take for granted. This gift of sight is one of the most valuable gifts. The Rotary club of Kuching Central in partnership with CIMB Bank, the Sarawak Health Department and the Sarawak Social Welfare department has since 2008 embarked on a preventive blindness campaign.
The first project was a Cataract operation in Kapit followed by another held in the Sarawak General Hospital Kuching in 2010. In the 2010 event, patients were brought in from as far away as Sri Aman, Betong, Serian & Lundu. In June 2011, the most ambitious project was carried out at Daro benefiting the underprivileged residents of Pulau Bruit.
Today’s project represents the continuation of this effort to prevent blindness. With the assistance of Sibu Hospital Director Dr. Wong See Chan, Deputy Director Dr. Nolan Teo and Dr. Thomas Law the Rotary club of Kuching Central sponsored by CIMB Bank will be providing for up to 100 cataract operations free of charge. As well the Rotary Club of Sibu will be providing assistance to ensure the projects smooth implementation.
Selection of the patients is done with the assistance of the Sarawak Social
Welfare Department based on the following criteria of each patient:
- Household income below RM800 per month
- Number of dependents to support
- No financial support from family member
- No side income
- Those who receive monthly financial assistance under Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat & OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya)
There were a total of over 40 patients who immediately required cataract operations. Six operations have been completed to date and another 34 will be carried out in the coming months. The patients will be operated on weekends by ophthalmologists and supporting staff who will work overtime to accommodate them.
The patients are from Dalat, Kapit, Sibu, other nearby villages and are expected to make their own travel arrangements. If they cannot afford the transport costs, the nearest hospital will provide them with assistance. After the operations have been done successfully, they will be referred to the Sarawak Social Welfare Department to assist them to return home where free tickets will normally be provided for the patients to take either buses or boats.
The remaining 60 IOL (intra ocular lens) will be handed over to Sibu Hospital as and when required. The Sibu hospital undertakes around 1,000 cataract operations annually. It is estimated that approximately ten percent of total patients are from the low income group.
Present to witness the event is District Governor Lee Kong Hwee (District 3310:2012-13), members from both the Rotary Club of Sibu and the Rotary Club of Kuching Central.
RC Kuching Central & CIMB Foundation: The club has worked in close association with the CIMB Foundation since 2008 (about the same time when CIMB Foundation embarked in a big way to undertake CSR projects). The first project was in Kapit in 2008. Thereafter another project involved the areas of Sri Aman, Betong, Serian & Lundu (2010), the Pulau Bruit (Daro) (2011) presently in Sibu. Total funding from CIMB to date including this project is RM230,000.00
This Preventive Blindness initiative is a signature project of the Rotary Club of Kuching Central.