In 2022, Assist RR funded 2199 free cataract surgeries using funds raised by Team Solihull (Solihull School Community in the UK). Inspired by Team Solihull’s successful cataract project, a Philanthropist from Malaysia through Alaka Foundation came forward to fund free cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka from January 2023. Alaka Foundation to kick start this project provided $50k to fund free surgeries (Phase 01). Assist RR funded 2045 free surgeries in 10 districts in Sri Lanka.
Although it was estimated that we would fund around 1750 surgeries for the $50k, we finally managed to fund 2045 surgeries for the same amount as part of Phase 01. During the implementation of this project, Alaka Foundation provided another $100k towards Phase 02 of the current cataract surgeries project. Those Alaka Foundation funds have allowed Assist RR to fund another 5054 surgeries (Phases 2) up to May 2023 covering 20 districts (a map is attached). In total 7099 cataract surgeries have been funded by Alaka Foundation (Phases 01&02). This project, costing LKR 58.5 Million ($161k) at an average cost of LKR 8250.00 per surgery, was implemented and coordinated by Assist RR (UK & SL). A summary of the hospital wise surgeries is given in this link: http://assistrr.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Phases-1-2-Summary-310723.pdf
Buoyed by this success, which has changed the lives of so many for the good, Alaka Foundation have introduced another philanthropist (Ananda Foundation) from Malaysia, who has also come forward to fund more surgeries in Sri Lanka. This philanthropy, implemented by Assist RR, is offering an unprecedented country-wide solution to prevent avoidable blindness for Sri Lanka’s poorest people – whoever and wherever they be. Alaka and Ananda foundations have funded another $200k towards more surgeries (Phase 3) since June 2023.
Jaffna Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS) recently conducted an outreach screening programme in the remote areas of Jaffna district (Vadamarachchi East & Islets off the west coast of Jaffna Peninsula) and identified around 400 cataract patients. Surgeries took place for these patients in April and May at the Jaffna TH by Dr M Malaravan.
Post pandemic, there are poor people across the country, who are waiting for cataract surgeries, some of whom are in real danger of those cataracts becoming irreversibly blind. Many of these awaiting surgeries are farmers, fishmen, labourers and childminders. Losing or deteriorating sight would mean they won’t be able to provide for their families or contribute to the country’s economy. They are destined to become a burden, not a help. They will also lose their dignity and independence. There are many patients, who have been waiting for up to 5 years and there are many who were blind in both eyes. They are all benefitting and regaining their eye sights as a result of the benevolence of Alaka and Anada Foundations. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Alaka and Ananda Foundations for providing these life changing surgeries free of charge.