“The Sumba Eye Program is co-funded by Optometry Giving Sight, the only global fundraising initiative dedicated to the elimination of uncorrected refractive error, simply the need for an eye exam and glasses.”
The program established in 2007, is targeted at delivering eye care services to the people of Sumba and building the capacity of the local and regional health staff to provide effective eye care for the community in Nusa Tenggara Timur.
The province of Sumba is one of three main islands in Nusa Tenggara Timur (Eastern Indonesia). Sumba has a very limited capacity to access general surgery, let alone any specialist surgery.
Each year, the eye team travels to Sumba to provide ophthalmology and optometry services to the Sumbanese people. The team consists of optometrists, ophthalmologists and nurses who volunteer their time and skills to improve eye care in Sumba. It performs consultations and operations and distributes spectacles and sunglasses over one-week visits. Approximately 750 patients are screened on each visit, with 90 to 100 patients receiving sight restoring surgery, improving their function and mobility and enabling them to return to productive work in the family and community. The predominant surgery carried out by the visiting teams is cataract surgery
The program has achieved the following since its inception in 2007
Figures include August 2015 visit:
6401 Sumbanese have received a consultation
801 sight restoring surgical procedures have been performed
5089 spectacles have been dispensed
August Visit 2015
- 696 people screened : many others screened in remote villages by the Optom/Hasanuddin University Teams
- 68 Cataract and Pterygium operations performed : 6/60 blindness or worse levels
- 605 spectacles dispensed
Under much pressure to keep our equipment excess down we were not able to bring as many cataract operating kits and we had to leave behind a donated microscope (slit lamp) and auto refractor – till next time.
More great friendships and understandings developed with the Ophthalmologists and Ophthalmology Trainees from Hasanuddin University in Sulawesi. Every Team member learnt new skills and improved on their existing techniques from the many challenges presented to us.
Another big step forward in the Sumba Eye Program Founders dreams to have a sustainable Eye Care Training Program in NTT and the Indonesian Surgeons providing their highly skilled surgical procedures there.
To our Eye Care Nurse Nefry , what a wonderful job you do for us and your people. Sunny, Ma’a (Eye Care Nurses in Training) , Steppan , Miranda , Franky our long standing Interpreters and friends a big thankyou from the Team.
Rainy , unable to spend much time this year as she is extremely busy with the Sumba Foundation Nutrition Program, we will have you back on board next year!!
Once again thank you to Claus Bogh for your enthusiastic and persuasive support.
Thankyou also to the fantastic Team at RACS , Steph, Sara, Alison and Daliah without who we could not do the work we do!!
Now, after a little rest ,we begin planning our next “Teaching” trip in April May 2016 ,
May Visit 2015
During the Teaching/screening week in Sumba the Team screened 405 people for vision problems, dispensed 276 specs, mostly to poor villagers with no access to any Eyecare and we detected 25 people with very advanced cataract (legally blind or much worse) or pterygia. An enormous amount of “one on one teaching” refracting and pathology with Nefry and Atti assisted by Steppan was possible. It was brilliant to see the Nurses achieve “light bulb ” moments when they mastered technique.