Many elderly people in Papua, Indonesia suffer from cataracts – an eye disease that can lead to blindness if left untreated. However, they not only suffer from the disease but also from being socially excluded.
Wenapung in the Yahukimo area is about an 18-minute flight from Wamena. There, with the helicopter, we picked up a 45-year-old man named Uluk who was suffering from cataracts. He only made it to the helicopter with an escort. We flew him to the hospital in Wamena to give him the necessary medical care. Unfortunately, the lack of qualified medical staff is often the biggest challenge.
Since the people here are self-sufficient, it is very important for them to be able to move and work freely. If someone falls ill with cataracts, this often has serious consequences for their life. There are neither sidewalks nor roads here, only narrow, slippery and often steeply sloping paths. People with visual impairments are often unable to leave their huts. This often leads to them being more and more isolated. In addition, no health or disability insurance company pays for their treatment and livelihood.