Batangtoru, 14 September 2023 – In the spirit of ending cataract blindness in Indonesia, PT Agincourt Resources, the operator of the Martabe Gold Mine, officially opened a series of Free Cataract Examinations and Surgeries “Open Your Eyes, See the Beauty of the World” at Bhayangkara Hospital, Batangtoru, South Tapanuli, on 14 September 2023. In the ninth year of this free cataract surgery event, PT Agincourt Resources (PTAR) has set a quota of 1,000 eyes.
In collaboration with the ophthalmologists from Mata Mencirim 77 Medan Hospital, the cataract surgeries will be carried out intensively in seven rounds, spread across Batangtoru, Sipirok, Siantar and Medan.
Director of PT Agincourt Resources, Noviandri Hakim, said that the free cataract surgery which is consistently held every year is a form of the Company’s concern in reducing the serious prevalence of cataract blindness in Indonesia.
“Through this series of cataract surgeries, we want to contribute to accelerating the treatment of cataracts by encouraging as many people as possible to undergo cataract surgery, because the only way to recover cataracts is by surgery. Our hope is that everyone can have optimal sight and can develop their potential. When that happens, the quality of life of former cataract sufferers, their families, and colleagues around them can improve and become more prosperous,” said Noviandri.
Based on the results of the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) survey in 15 provinces in the 2014-2016 period, the blindness rate in Indonesia reached 3%. Of that figure, around 81% are caused by cataracts.
The South Tapanuli Police Chief, AKBP Imam Zamroni, who was also present at the opening of the 2023 Free Cataract Surgery Series at the Martabe Gold Minealso expressed similar hopes. According to him, improving the quality of human resources is influenced by the success of health development through various preventive and curative efforts.
“In order to have successful health development, health efforts must be madetogether, between the government, business actors and the community. The implementation of cataract surgery is proof of the commitment of business actors, i.e.,PT Agincourt Resources, in realizing health development which is part of the national development,” said Imam.
According to him, the collaboration between the Indonesian National Police through Bhayangkara Hospital and PTAR is proof of good synergy between state agencies and business actors in providing health services for the community.
The community in South Tapanuli – the operational location of the Martabe Gold Mine – was greatly helped by the free cataract surgery held by PTAR. Through initial monitoring, hundreds of cataract sufferers in South Tapanuli living in remote areas were detected.
One of them is Halomoan Simanjuntak, a resident of Sihuik-huik Village, South Angkola, who underwent cataract surgery at the Martabe Gold Mine in 2022. This 43-year-old man has suffered from cataracts in both eyes for more than 10 years. For this reason, Halomoan activities were limited. He could only open a small shop selling coffee on a piece of leasedland.
Finally he received information that PTAR was providing cataract surgery free of charge. With enthusiasm, he underwent the surgery on one eye at Bhayangkara Batangtoru Hospital, followed by the surgery on the other eye at Mencirim 77 Hospital, Medan.
“After the surgery, I could see clearly. I felt very happy. I then sell glassware to other villages by motorbike. The money I get is enough to send my three children to school,” said Halomoan.
From 2011 to 2022, the Martabe Gold Mine Free Cataract Surgery has cured 9,259 cataracts and has supported the life expectancy of 7,955 people. This figure will continue to increase to reach 10,000 cataract eyes if this year’s quota is met.
The Martabe Gold Mine’s 2023 Free Cataract Surgery was held at Bhayangkara Batangtoru Hospital on 10-11 September, 15-16 September, 22-23 September, and 29-30 September. Then it continues to Sipirok Regional Hospital on 11-12 October 2023. The free cataract surgery will also be held at Siantar Eye Hospital on 20-21 October and ends at Mencirim 77 Eye Hospital Medan on 11-12 November2023
Before starting the series of surgeries, PTAR held a Cataract Information Week at Sopo Daganak Batangtoru on 15 August 2023 which was attended by the Sub-district Leadership Coordination Forum, village heads, health workers and the integrated healthcare center cadres.