Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise and the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation presented cameras to ophthalmology clinic.


PHILIPSBURG:— On Friday, December 7, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise and the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) jointly presented a portable fundus camera to the newly opened ophthalmology clinic of the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise initiated the purchase of the camera.
During the presentation, SMMC’s Ophthalmologist Dr. Jerrel Pawiroredjo, the eye specialist of Surinam who is assisting the SMMC with the newly opened eye care clinic, explained that he first visited Sint Maarten in 2015 on the request of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise Club. He was asked to install the then newly purchased fundus camera at the WYCCF in order to start preventative screening activities for all residents on Sint Maarten who suffer from diabetes and/or hypertension. Dr. Virginia Asin, past President of Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise, initiated this. A physician herself and then working at the Department of Collective Preventive Services within the Ministry of Public Health here on the island, she saw the importance of screening and early detection of eye problems. When Dr. Pawiroredjo met with local stakeholders he realized there was no Ophthalmology clinic on the Dutch side, which amazed him as the prevalence of secondary complications from diabetes and hypertension (such as preventable blindness) was high. This realization triggered his first conversations with SMMC to research the possibilities of collaboration between Sint Maarten and Surinam in order to setup quality ophthalmology services here on the island. The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise President Valda Hazel stated that the club is extremely proud of the donation of the fundus camera to the SMMC Ophthalmology clinic. It shows how the project for a vital piece of medical equipment was the first trigger that later on resulted in full, high quality ophthalmology services being available locally, which is so important for the population of Sint Maarten.
Representative of WYCCF Bregje Boetekees explained that the fundus camera fits best within the eye clinic at SMMC where screening can now be done by the TOA (technical ophthalmology assistant). The camera operates painlessly and takes a picture of the inside of the eye, showing the optical nerve and blood vessels. As diabetes and hypertension can cause damage to the nerve and blood vessels, early detection of such damage leads to early treatment, which will prevent far-reaching problems such as loss of vision.
Rotary International observes a different theme each month, each club throughout the Rotary world is encouraged to concentrate on programs and projects to promote each of these months. December is observed as Disease Prevention and Treatment Month, the donated camera ties in with the monthly theme. The members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise continue with its service to humanity.

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Source: St. Martin News Network