Fighting Cataracts in Jakarta

Throughout June-July 2010, the Hayandra Peduli Foundation conducted a program that aims to fight cataracts in Jakarta. For this program, the foundation selected an area called Kebon Kosong in Central Jakarta and collaborated with the local Social Office of Jakarta.

The program was conducted in several phases. The first program was screening. Here, examination was performed to see whether there were any cataract cases that can be found among the elderly in Kebon Kosong. From the examination, 23 cataract cases were found. The second phase was assessment of the obstruction of sight level of the already identified cases, which was assessed using Snellen Chart and refractometer performed by refractionist. This examination was crucial because the result of this examination served as the indicator of whether or not surgery was necessary. At the end of the assessment, 19 people with cataracts were identified to be needing surgery. The next phase, which was the third phase, was the laboratory check as a prerequisite for the surgery procedure. In this phase, candidates underwent necessary blood tests.

After the third phase, 10 cataract patients were identified to be suitable for surgery. Those who did not passed the blood tests were having problems with blood sugar level. The failed candidates were advised to control the blood sugar level first before going on further surgery in the future.

Although 10 patients were listed and were prepared for cataract surgery, only 3 patients showed up on the date, 20th July 2010. Most of the reason for the no-show was patients being fearful and unprepared for the surgery, even when extensive explanations about the procedure that they were going to go through were already given. Most of them thought that cataract surgery involves taking out and replacing the existing eyeball with a new one or some others thought that the risk of this procedure involves blindness and hence did not acquire the required approval from their families.

The lesson learned for us from the program was to realize that while resources for health facility in Indonesia were scarce, the knowledge about health itself was worst. To overcome this issue, we think that collaboration from all parties both the government and public in providing education and accessible health facility is of extremely important. We sincerely hope that the cataract operation that we had conducted was able to show to the rest of the patients about the procedure and open themselves to reach out to our assistance in the future.