Partnership comes at a time of greatest need

Press Release

St John WA is very honoured to partnering with the Perth Eye Foundation to make blindness history in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. The dedicated staff and volunteers at the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group have made it their foundation to treat all those that come to them for help and has done so since 1882.

Like Belal Al Bashete a 9-year-old school boy, from Khan Yunis with a dream to become an actor. Last July, he lost his sight in his left eye due to an old trauma that escalated due to the added difficulty of delays in getting help being complicated by the COVID19 restrictions. During the shutdown, the situation of Belal and his nine family members has become incredibly challenging. Their financial situation has deteriorated since his father lost his job amid the current pandemic crisis.

Belal was eventually able to visit the St John of Gaza Eye Hospital to receive the eye care services he needed. After consultation and examination, the doctor advised Belal’s family that he should undergo a vitreoretinal surgery procedure to help him to see again. Because his condition was critical, he was admitted to hospital immediately to receive the medical care he needed.

Access to eye health services has been seriously disrupted because of the lockdown, precautionary measures, and general closures. From June to October over 25,000 patients have been unable to access the services they need. In addition, more than 1,200 sight-saving surgical procedures have been cancelled.

“As restrictions are lifted, we are facing a race against time to deliver the eye care the Palestinian population relies on us for,” says Dr. Bashar Jaber, Consultant Oculoplasty Specialist at the Eye Hospital in East Jerusalem. “We put ourselves at risk of COVID -19 infection every day. We are the only thing standing between them and permanent sight loss.”

There is another facet to this reduction in treatment. The funds received from patients and their insurers directly subsidises vulnerable patients who cannot afford these life-changing treatments. The hospital has lost over £1.5m worth of much needed patient-income. The dedicated staff and volunteers extend their heartfelt thanks to all their supporters around the world who have already sent their good wishes and donations towards this life-changing work and hope that reaching out will help cover the funding gap and reach more patients in the coming months.

Can you help?

It’s an immense task, but the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group need to raise a total of £500,000 to offset an anticipated £1.8 million deficit. Your support has never been more vital.

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