Jakarta arranges free cataract surgery for poor

A Jakarta NGO, Women for the Health of Senior Citizens, performs around 10,000 free cataract surgeries every year in the country. Indonesian Association of Ophthalmologists (Perdami) performed free surgery for poor people. The association performs around 10,000 free cataract surgeries every year.

The number could be higher if more donors wanted to support it. Donors give Rp 500,000 for each cataract removal for a minimum of 25 people per event to maximize the use of doctors and equipment.

Cataracts are the main cause of blindness in Indonesia. It is a degenerative disease, whereby the lens crystallizes, becoming thicker and more opaque as people age.Health Ministry data shows that 23 percent of elderly people suffer from cataracts. Around 1.5 percent of Indonesians are blind, the highest rate among Southeast Asian countries. Most of the blind are from low-income families with little access to health care.

Cataract surgery at a hospital costs at least Rp 10 million (US$910) per eye, driven by expensive surgery equipment and doctor's fees.

Johan Hutauruk, the head of the association's cataract removal section said,

"But the poor can come to this surgical event because we do not charge them for the equipment or the doctor's fee. They only need a letter from the local administration certifying that they are poor."

Source: The Jakarta Post

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