St John Ambulance WA is in the business of helping people in need and sometimes that means looking beyond our own shore.
The organisation has undertaken several international projects, providing knowledge, expertise and resources to communities who may not ordinarily have access to such means.
One of the ways the organisation achieves this is through the Ophthalmic Branch.
In most States and Territories throughout Australia, St John Ambulance has a branch known as the Ophthalmic Branch. Broadly speaking, the purpose of this branch is to raise funds to support the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem as well as other ophthalmic projects around the world.
WA continues to contribute to the international humanitarian work of the St John organisation by annual fund raising activities. An annual donation from the Eye Surgery Foundation, as well as a levy on the annual Dinner Dance tickets, are the two major sources of funding for this project. No funds from ambulance, first aid training or other St John Ambulance activities are used to support this branch. Through that funding, we are able to continue funding nursing positions at the St John Eye Hospital and providing opportunities to conduct missions to countries around the world. During 2011, that included a mission to Maubisse, Timor Leste, East Timor.
St John Ambulance WA staff joined forces with a team of ophthalmic surgeons and nurses to attend the people in Timor Leste with surgically treatable illness, disability or trauma. The goal was to improve the health status of this community by providing access to a service not normally available.
The team recorded the highest number of operations since the mission began during 2008, with 54 cataracts, one secondary anterior chamber intra ocular lens and one lens dialing. 14 patients also returned to have their second lens replacement.