LDS Charities vision technical specialist, Dr. John Jarstand, recently visited the Eye Department at Sam Ratulangi University in Manado and the Gadjah Mada University School of Medicine in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The purpose of the trip was to provide training for future ophthalmology residents, assist in treating patients, and donate equipment and supplies that will be used for future training and treatment.
Dr. Jarstad wrote, “Overall [this project] was the most successful vision project to date [in Indonesia], with just under 400 patients at each site (about 750 patients total) receiving eye exams and new eyeglasses—many for the very first time. The success was a direct reflection of the preparation and hard work performed by the local LDS Charities volunteers to get the word out and work with the local politicians and other charities. Seven eye surgery residents in Manado and three in Jakarta [two cities in Indonesia] assisted in the exams and were a huge help in improving efficiency over what one surgeon could accomplish alone.”
One of the vision screenings was held at an LDS Charities building in Manado, where 350 people were examined. Dr. Titi, one of the local eye doctors who helped with the project and a doctor at RSIA Lestari, a hospital that helps financially unstable patients, also invited some of her patients to come to this free screening. As a surprise to everyone, Dr. Titi’s niece was there. They hadn’t seen each other in years and were able to reconnect. Dr. Titi was very happy and said that there are no coincidences.
Dr. Jarstad and three residents from the University of Indonesia performed the examinations. It was wonderful to have so many people of different backgrounds there—Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and so on. Twelve people were diagnosed as needing cataract surgery. Dr. Titi and some of her colleagues will perform these surgeries free of charge.
LDS Charities doctors, like Dr. Jarstad, took the lead and were helped greatly by the service of affiliate doctors like Dr. Titi. They were also helped by LDS Charities volunteers who distributed eyeglasses based on the doctor’s recommendations, provided refreshments, and directed traffic.
With the help of LDS Charities and local volunteers, the beneficiaries were able to receive the professional eye care and prescriptions they needed without the stress of paying for them. Many of them had never had the opportunity to get their eyes checked before, so the volunteers were very happy to provide that service to them and give them the glasses, surgeries, and other eye care that they needed.By Lonnie and Mary Lucherini, LDS Charities Volunteers