Totally blind for 5 years and in one day ... sight!  This is power of a Global Grant.
Left: Dr. Federico Rupil ( Argentina), and
Right : Dr Jeff Rutgard (USA)
For more than 12 years this has been an annual project undertaken on Taveuni Island and one that consistently delivers great outcomes for communities.
The 2017 Global Grant project had a budget of ~US$ 70,000 and the Rotary Clubs of Taveuni and Newmarket were the grant partners. Districts 9920 and 9810 contributed US$5000 DDF each which was matched by RI, and the remainder was from Club Clubs and individual donors.
Rotary Club donations were also matched by RI at 50 cents for every dollar contribution.
The Fiji Foundation for the Blind visits communities across Fiji identifying those who need help. Then these people and an accompanying person are financially assisted to travel to Taveuni Is. for assessment and surgery. The Rotary Club of Taveuni every year work tirelessly to manage this project, and provide local support—accommodation, meals, laundry - both for the patients and their support people but also the medical personnel.
In 2017 the surgeries were undertaken between the 3rd and 17th November. The budget target was for 300 surgeries, but 403 were actually done: Cataracts: 269, Pterygiums: 74, Lesions: 2, Slit lamp: 55, YAG Laser: 3. This was a record number of procedures for this project in a single year.
The team was made up of 11 from overseas and 22 locals. This included 3 ophthalmic surgeons (from USA, NZ and Argentina) and a GP from Australia. The entire team worked long hours, some who cared for the patients day and night did 16 days at the hospital without a break. Patient services averaged 400 meals a day for four different cultures. ( all on 3x 2 burner gas cookers plus an outside wood fire to cook the bulky food, rice and casava) The community were very generous, they donated fruit and vegetables, needed on average 160 loaves of bread each day.
The joy of seeing young and old patients regain sight or see for the first time is a very emotional time for the entire team.
Planning for a 2018 project is already underway.
Fiji Eye Project 2017 [GG1755164]