AFJ Supports Inaugural Blindness Prevention Program in Kingston, Jamaica

The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) announced its inaugural sponsorship of a sight saving mission that will occur during the week of February 9, 2020. The AFJ is proudly joining forces with Dr. Norman Saffra, Chairman of Ophthalmology at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn NY to partner with Dr. Lizette Mowatt, Head of Ophthalmology Division, UHWI, in Kingston, Jamaica to execute this joint surgical mission and teaching program focused on retina disease.

AFJ is proud to have collaborated with Orbis International, a fellow New York City based global blindness prevention organization, who maintains a strong partnership with the Jamaican ophthalmic community, lending two nurses and an anesthesiologist to support this program.

This AFJ mission seeks to reduce the backlog of patients requiring surgery. Another important component of the mission is capacity building for residents at UHWI and KPH. Approximately 16 patients will be scheduled for surgery and 12 residents will observe during the procedures. The aim is not only to operate on those in need but to upskill medical residents to be able to improve eyecare and to learn techniques used to perform complicated surgeries.

Dr. Saffra shared his motivation on what drove his involvement in the mission, “Jewish tradition dictates that we participate in tikun olam- making the world a better place; what better way to do that, than by helping to restore vision to people who may not have access to the latest sight saving technologies,” Dr. Saffra said. “Partnering with the AFJ and Orbis in this important mission to Kingston and UWI was a natural fit, and allows me to follow in this tradition.”

Alcon, the global leader in eye care has provided the necessary technology and consumables to support this sight-saving mission. “Through effective partnerships, the AFJ is able to impact more people and breakdown obstacles that prevent our most vulnerable from receiving the care they need. With healthy sight, families and communities thrive,” stated AFJ Executive Director, Caron Chung.

Special thanks to Orbis International, UHWI, JetBlue, Dennis Shipping, Alcon, Spanish Court Hotel and The local Ministry of Health for supporting this mission.

About Orbis International
Orbis International is an international non-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Its programs focus on the prevention of blindness and the treatment of blinding eye diseases in developing countries through hands-on training, public health education, advocacy and local partnerships.