Thursday, Jun 24

Love continues to pour to Leyte with cataract mission

October 23, 2018 | Jushua Marga

The sweetest smile can be seen from people who have just been lifted from their blindness. These sweet smiles are very abundant during the two-day cataract mission at Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

Story Highlights

  • Continuing with its lifelong Mission of Medicine, Tzu Chi held a free cataract mission on October 23 and 24 at Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City. The two-day mission treated cataract, pterygium, and squint eye among 152 patients.


Tzu Chi’s Mission of Medicine continues in the province of Leyte with its fourth cataract mission in Tacloban City.

Divine Word Hospital, a hospital run by Catholic nuns, offered their operating room for use by Tzu Chi to help address the needs of the people who are unable to afford cataract surgery. Between October 23 and 24, the clinic treated 152 patients not only in cataract but also in pterygium and squint eye.

The cataract mission has been one of yearly free medical services offered by Tzu Chi in Tacloban City since 2014.

Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) nurse Michelle Abella-Sugitan has seen firsthand the impact of Tzu Chi’s relief efforts in rebuilding the lives of the people of Eastern Visayas after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). She is proud to help Tzu Chi in its lifelong mission of bringing medical aid to the needy.

“I am a Waray (natives of the islands of Samar and Leyte) and I could really see and feel how Tzu Chi has helped my hometown and my people. I am very thankful as well for the big opportunity Tzu Chi has given me to be able to help my people,” the 48-year-old nurse from Samar shares.

Ariel Lalo, 34 years old, suffers from a cataract in his left eye and pterygium in his right. He lives in the nearby town of Tanauan and works as a sales collector. Once struggling with his degrading vision, after his free cataract surgery new hope has found its way to his life.

“Now that I had my cataract surgery, I will no longer be worried whenever I come home late from work,” tells Lalo.

TIMA doctors are monitoring his pterygium for any developments, as it’s still too small to be dealt with immediately.

Estaneslao Sia, 53 years old, has had cataract in his left eye for several years but was unaware of it until the screening by TIMA doctors on October 6. Living alone, he went to the medical mission without any companions. Tzu Chi volunteers, fortunately, assisted him through the entire process.

“Like us who have less in life, we are really grateful that Tzu Chi is there to help us. In fact, I tell my friends whenever Tzu Chi has a medical mission because I know they can help people like us,” Sia said.

  • A patient shows how happy he is right after his successful cataract surgery. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • TIMA nurse Michelle Abella-Sugitan is more than happy to serve her fellow Warays. A native of Samar, she's witnessed the love and care Tzu Chi has given to her people in the wake of Yolanda. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • Tzu Chi also shoulders the medication of eye patients after surgery. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers will never forget to wear a smile. Treating everyone with happiness and kindness is a trademark of theirs. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • TIMA ophthalmologist Dr. Antonio Say led the team of doctors in the two-day cataract mission, which benefitted 152 patients. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • Already before their surgery, eye patients from all over Eastern Visayas show their gratitude. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • Ariel Lalo (right), 34, receives the best care he can get from Tzu Chi, from screening until post-operation. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO Alfredo Li reminded the patients to be grateful to the doctors who will conduct the surgeries. Gratefulness is one of the many values Tzu Chi teaches to everyone. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • A Tzu Chi volunteer prepares a patient's eye for his operation with eye drops. It helps keep the eye sterile while the patient waits for his turn. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】

  • More than expertise, TIMA doctors also offered compassion to the patients. 【Photo by Jushua Marga】


  • 20181029 Tacloban Cataract Mission A Story Of Hope

  • LAST UPDATED: October 29, 2018 14:10 PM