Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre has collaborated with Rotary Club Klang Central to drive a year-long ‘Gift of Sight’ programme to support lower-income groups.
The children received basic eye screening while their parents received basic health checks. Picture courtesy of BTMC
KLANG, Jan 18 – Cataract continues to be the predominant cause of blindness and contributes to 50 per cent of blindness worldwide. While the disease mainly impacts the elderly in Malaysia, it also affects diabetics and those who are obese, smoke, suffer from hypertension, and are excessively exposed to sunlight, among others.
In an effort to give back to the Klang community, Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre (BTMC) collaborated with Rotary Club Klang Central from early 2022 to drive a year-long ‘Gift of Sight’ programme to support lower-income groups who are unable to afford urgently required cataract surgery.
The programme saw BTMC consultant ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon Dr M Narendran Muthukrishnan perform 30 free cataract surgeries on patients aged between 49 to 78 who were suffering from various stages of compromised vision. Alcon Malaysia also joined the initiative by contributing lenses and other consumables required for the surgery.
Jasmine Lau, BTMC chief executive officer said: “As we play our part to improve quality of life for Malaysians, the ‘Gift of Sight’ programme also provides us with a platform to raise awareness on the importance of eye health among the public and the need to take care of our eyes as blindness resulting from cataract can be avoided through early detection.”
“We would also like to commend Rotary Club Klang Central for initiating this worthy cause and for joining forces with us to build a healthier nation. With the rising cost of living particularly challenging for the low-income bracket, we are glad to be able to support people from all walks of life though this initiative which gives us an opportunity to make healthcare more accessible to all thanks to the contributions of Rotary Club and Alcon.”
As an extension of the ‘Gift of Sight’ programme, BTMC set up four booths at Dewan Rakyat Taman Rajawali, Bukit Rotan, to provide basic eye screening for 38 children and their parents from the B40 community. The kids received eye screening, vision test, refraction test, and auto refraction for frame selection, while the adults received basic health checks.
According to Dr Lillian Tay, BTMC resident medical officer, who was part of the hospital team involved in the community activity: “The adults either had diabetes or hypertension or in some cases, both. 20 per cent were newly diagnosed cases, while the rest were on regular follow-up with their local Klinik Kesihatan.”
As a result of the health checks, 13 children who were found to have compromised vision showed improvements with further examination. The remaining were advised to perform an annual eye assessment.
Dr Wong Weng Keong, BTMC consultant paediatrician said: “Most children were doing fairly well. However, a handful of the children were found to be overweight or obese. This could potentially be a factor leading to the risk of other non-communicable diseases in their adolescence and adulthood. The kids were highly recommended to practise dietary modification and exercise therapy for weight management.”
“Rotary Club has long served the needs of communities worldwide and this time, we are glad to be able to initiate the ‘Gift of Sight’ programme in Klang as we understand the struggles faced by B40 families,” said Mahandran Vellasamy, organising chairman, Rotary Club Klang Central.
“Through this programme, we aim to alleviate the hardship that some families go through due to cataracts so we can bring change to their lives. We would like to thank BTMC for making this a success, and we hope to be able to continue such efforts that bring positive and uplifting change.”
Part of Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care, BTMC is guided by the Group’s principles and commitment based on the pillars of “RSD Cares” – Caring for Our People, Planet and Community – as well as its philosophy of “People Caring for People”.