Tuesday, 2 June 2015

ECU Nursing Students Conduct Eye Clinics in Indonesia

COUNTRY: Indonesia
PROGRAM: UniBreak Groups
PROJECT: Nursing
WRITTEN BY: Casey Samiotis, Edith Cowan University

Life changing interventions amongst the most breathtaking backdrops: A different side to Bali life than most of us have seen as tourists and a unique and privileged opportunity.

The first morning after a late night arrival, we met our attentive and dedicated guide "Little Wayan" and our trusty support crew Dian, Anom & Rosa (3 nursing students from Stikes University to act as our translators) as well as our in country support Gonsalo & Wiwi.

The first 3 days were spent in Siangan village, approx. 45 minutes drive from our hotel. As we entered the village we were met with inquisitive and welcoming faces. Locals welcomed us in to their homes, where Wayan introduced us to the traditional Balinese way of living.

Experienced staff were conducting eye screenings for up to 300 people, and providing glasses and cataract assessments all free of charge. The first few days involved assisting John Fawcett Foundation (JFF) staff with eye tests and observing fascinating and almost unbelievable cataract surgeries from the bus-turned-mini-operating-theatre. Having undergone cataract surgery the previous day, some patients even rode their scooters in for their post-op assessment. Each day we have enjoyed delicious traditional food cooked and personally delivered by Wayan's wife. One of these days we were invited to eat in the family home of the chief of the community.

We also had the opportunity to work alongside a large group of Stikes University students conducting general health checks for local people from another small village. We hit the ground running quickly, learning the variations in assessment techniques.

We visited the JFF office where we were lucky enough to meet CEO, LeRoy Hollenbeck and founder John Fawcett. Here we learnt more about the foundation's history and proposals for the future. We were told that there was an increase in locals presenting for assessments after word got out that there were foreign nurses coming to the village. Everybody, from local students to the policeman, wanted our photo to remember the occasion.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved in such admirable work for such deserving people. As John Fawcett explained, there are not many interventions that can be as affordable, fast, effective and life changing as cataract surgery.

We are looking forward to a weekend break and heading in to the next part of the adventure at Wangaya government hospital.

Link below to the JFF video:

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