The first two months of the year saw a resumption of our offshore screening and operating programs – to the island of Alor in the east of Flores and to Jember, East Java.
The Alor program, jointly supported by the Direct Aid Program through the Australian Consulate-General in Makassar and donor Peter Brown, came about as the result of a request for our team to return to this locality after a successful program there the previous year. This is a remote area in Nusa Tenggara Timur that has a high level of poverty and where the people have little or no access to specialist medical care. JFF has a special interest in the eastern islands, and thanks the donors for making this program a possibility. On Alor the team screened 394 people with eye problems and operated 61 adults who were blind, as well as four children, one who was blind in both eyes.
In late February the team took three mobile eye clinics to Jember in East Java, where they achieved 222 sight-restoring operations, 1,868 people with eye problems screened, 1,395 pairs of glasses distributed, 300 treated for eye infections, and 20 prosthetic eyes custom-made and fitted.