Gift of Sight
Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation launches a charity programme that aims to provide 200 cataract surgeries to underprivileged elderly patients
Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation (HKAHF) has launched a charity programme aimed at helping some of the most disadvantaged elderly people in the region suffering from cataracts.
The move follows publication of research that shows cataracts can affect a sufferer’s cognitive abilities as well as sight.
“In light of this, early diagnosis and treatment through surgery is of utmost importance,” says Jo Soo-tang, chairman of the Board of Governors at HKAHF. “Unfortunately, many underprivileged elderly are unable to receive treatment due to financial constraints.
“In its mission to serve elderly patients in need, HKAHF has launched the Charity Cataract Programme to offer timely assistance and support to underprivileged elderly suffering from cataracts, helping them restore their vision sooner.”
Latest figures from the Hospital Authority show there to be more than 30,000 people needing treatment for cataracts in Hong Kong every year, and Dr Jeffrey Pong, a specialist in ophthalmology and a consultant for HKAHF’S Eye Fund, says the numbers will increase as the population ages.
The programme aims to provide 200 cataract surgeries to disadvantaged elderly patients aged 65 or over by providing one preoperative consultation, cataract surgery, and three post-operative consultations free of charge. Patients who meet the application criteria may apply, and those with cataracts in both eyes will be offered priority. To apply for support, applicants must be:
• Aged 65 or above,
• In stable general health,
• On the waiting list at a public hospital for cataract surgery or diagnosed with a cataract condition,
• On Comprehensive Social Security Assistance or not have assets exceeding HK$210,000 for a single person or $318,000 for a married couple (based on the eligibility criteria for the Old Age Living Allowance as stipulated by the Social Welfare Department).
Those on long-term medication must provide a medical history report.
Soo-tang says HKAHF has provided cataract surgery for more than 100 elderly patients since its founding in 1999.
“As our population ages, the demand for cataract surgery will continue to rise. The Charity Cataract Programme is a way for HKAHF to serve the underprivileged in the community, more specifically the elderly who are currently awaiting surgery,” she says, adding that the organisation is grateful to the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association for its support for the scheme, and for its referrals and assistance in selecting eligible candidates.
Soo-tang says that in addition to the support for cataract patients, the HKAHF has also funded heart surgeries for more than 300 underprivileged children and in excess of 200 cochlear implantation procedures.
HKAHF also operates cancer, otological, orthopaedic and general children’s medical funds. The Children’s Hearing Fund is aimed at providing support for children in Mainland China and Hong Kong. The Cancer Fund was set up to provide PET/ CT and MRI scans to underprivileged patients for early diagnosis and to assess the spread of the disease. In partnership with Hong Kong Tatler, HKAHF conducted a month-long poll online during the summer to select 10 inspirational women for its Women of Hope campaign. A luncheon was held to reveal the winners, with all proceeds from the event going to the Cancer Fund.
The Otological Service Fund was established in 2010 to provide general treatment and surgery for deaf people in Nepal, and the Children’s Orthopaedic Fund—also launched in 2010—is aimed at helping needy children in Hong Kong suffering from congenital problems such as club foot, developmental dysplasia of the hip and arthrogryposis.
Information about how to support the HKAHF’S Charity Cataract Programme or other funds can be found at hkahf.org.hk, at its official Facebook page, and on its Instagram account @hkahf.
Donations that do not specify any particular area of help will support the Children’s Medical Fund, which was established in 2003 aimed at assisting children in need of life-altering or life-saving medical treatments.
New initiative Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation (HKAHF) held a press conference on October 5 to unveil
the charity programme
quality healthcare From right: Jo Soo-tang,
chairman of the Board of Governors at HKAHF;
Dr Jeffrey Pong, a consultant for HKAHF’S Eye Fund; and Lau Lap Keung, one of the beneficiaries from the Charity Cataract Programme