INDEPENDENT NEWS

Rotary New Zealand Supports Cataract Surgery in Fiji

Published: Wed 31 Jul 2013 09:56 AM
Rotary New Zealand Supports Cataract Surgery in Fiji
The Rotary Fiji Cataract Surgery initiative is a twice annual program held at Taveuni Island Hospital, Fiji and is endorsed by Rotary New Zealand. 250 surgeries have been booked for the next program starting on Monday 4th November this year. This will be the largest number of surgeries undertaken in the program’s eight year history.
In 2011 the program conducted 219 surgeries over 10 working days and last year, 229 surgeries over a similar period. The operations included those on two 4-year olds, a 12-year old and a 17-year old with congenital bilateral cataracts - blindness from birth. All left the Taveuni Hospital unaided. More information on the program can be found on You Tube under The Taveuni Eye Project 2012. Rotary partners with the Fiji Society for the Blind
who were founded in 1970 through the initiative of the Suva Rotary Club. It is the only organisation that provides rehabilitation, education, training and assistance to visually impaired persons and partially sighted throughout Fiji.
The focus of this initiative within their overall work is for people from rural and remote communities who cannot afford travel to Suva, Lautoka, Nadi or Labasa for surgery. The program is totally free to recipients including transport, meals, accommodation, post-op care etc.
In the past 8 years over 1,500 men, women and children have undergone surgery. To maintain the program, Rotary has to raise $70,000 in New Zealand each year for the two programs. This together with substantial sponsorship from Vodafone Fiji Limited covers all costs. The program is run by specialist professional ophthalmologists and nurses from Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and U.S.A. who provide their service at no charge including pre and post operative care.
All catering and laundry is organised by Taveuni Rotarians and their supporters who also give their time as volunteers. Rotary purchased specialised equipment from the United States and retains stocks of consumables. In the absence of government support donations are sought from the New Zealand public and details of how to donate can be found on www.rnzwcs.org
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