THE number of eye surgeries conducted at Taveuni Hospital by an overseas team has grown over the past eight years, with an increase in demand from the community and increased support from donors.
Organised by the Rotary Club of Taveuni, the event has brought people from all over Fiji with all costs including accommodation paid by the club.
Club president Geoff Amos said the support from Rotary Foundation, Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation, New Zealand Medical Aid, Surgical Eye Expedition, Fiji Society for the Blind and the Ministry of Health for providing the hospital helped make their projects possible.
"We have treated so many people for this project, more than 1500 for eye surgeries only and we have seen a demand every year with a high number of cataract cases."
"What touches us is seeing the number of people with eye problems who live in rural areas and they have lived with the eye disease or cataracts for a long time," Mr Amos said.
He said the support from the communities in Taveuni had been superb.
"We have volunteers who come in to cook, look after the patients after the surgery and even pick the patients up from their villages and bring them to Taveuni Hospital."
"We take care of all costs, food, accommodation including their return trips home," Mr Amos said.
This week, the team which include medical personnel from New Zealand and the US conducted about 250 eye operations and examined many more. Patients came from as far as Vatukoula, Rakiraki, Tavua, Bua and Saqani.
"The patients just come to Taveuni Hospital with their bags of clothes as we take care of fares and other costs involved until they return home," Mr Amos said.