Eye to eye: Patient Kasi Munusamy receiving treatment at the MAIWP Cataract Surgery Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
KUALA LUMPUR: Cataract, which causes impairment of vision or blindness, can now be removed for as low as RM103 at a new centre run jointly by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Council (MAIWP) and the Selayang Hospital.
At the same centre, introcular lens implants can be carried out for RM500 to RM700.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the cost for similar surgeries at private hospitals was RM2,500 to RM3,000.
“This means the government subsidy is around RM2,000 per eye,” he said yesterday.
He added that this was made possible through the cooperation between the ministry, the Selayang Hospital and MAIWP.
“It is hoped that by charging only the minimum cost of treatment, we can help ease the people’s burden,” he said when opening the MAIWP Cataract Surgery Centre jointly with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom at the Selayang Hospital. The centre is open to people of all religions.
Since it opened on Jan 16, a total of 1,764 cataract surgeries have been carried out at the centre, with the waiting period reduced to two weeks from 16 weeks previously.
In a statement issued by the centre in conjunction with its opening, it said 80% of visual impairments can be prevented with early medical treatment.
It said that cataract was responsible for 39.1% of vision-related problems faced by Malaysians.
MAIWP spent RM9.8mil from its zakat (tithe) collection to transform the centre from a shoplot which, said Dr Subramaniam, cost much lower than acquiring a piece of land to build a new hospital for the purpose.
“With the smart partnership practised by the relevant agencies, we managed to establish this centre and made it fully operational in just six months,” he said.
In his speech, Jamil Khir said the centre was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and two operating theatres, supported by surgeons and specialists capable of carrying out 30 operations a day.
He said RM14.2mil of tithe money collected by the MAIWP last year was allocated for its medical aid programme.
“This was aimed at helping underprivileged patients get medical attention and treatment,” he said.