New York, NY (January 15, 2020) The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) announced its inaugural sponsorship of a sight saving mission that will occur during the week of February 9, 2020. The AFJ is proudly joining forces with Dr. Norman Saffra, Chairman of Ophthalmology at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn NY to partner with Dr. Lizette Mowatt, President of the Ophthalmological Society of Jamaica, and Senior Consultant at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in Kingston, Jamaica to execute this joint surgical mission and teaching program focused on retina disease.

AFJ is proud to have collaborated with Orbis International, a fellow New York City based global blindness prevention organization, who maintains a strong partnership with the Jamaican ophthalmic community, lending two nurses and an anesthesiologist to support this program.

This AFJ mission seeks to reduce the backlog of patients requiring surgery. Another important component of the mission is capacity building for residents at UHWI and KPH. Approximately 16 patients will be scheduled for surgery and 12 residents will observe during the procedures. The aim is not only to operate on those in need but to upskill medical residents to be able to improve eye care and to learn techniques used to perform complicated surgeries.

On what drove his involvement in the mission, Dr. Saffra stated “Jewish tradition dictates that we participate in tikun olam- making the world a better place and what better way to do that, than helping to restore vision to people who may not have access to the latest sight saving technologies . So, partnering with the AFJ and Orbis in this important mission to Kingston and UWI was a natural fit, and allows me to follow in this tradition.”

Alcon, the global leader in eye care has provided the necessary technology and consumables to support this sight saving mission. "Through effective partnerships, the AFJ is able to impact more people and breakdown obstacles that prevent our most vulnerable from receiving the care they need. With healthy sight, families and communities thrive.", stated AFJ Executive Director, Caron Chung.

Special thanks to Orbis International, UHWI, JetBlue, Dennis Shipping, Alcon, Spanish Court Hotel and The Local Ministry of Health for supporting this mission.


About the AFJ

The AFJ has an over 37-year history of funding charitable organizations in Jamaica in the fields of education, healthcare and economic development. As a registered 501 c 3 nonprofit, AFJ relies on individual and corporate contributions made by donors who believe in our work and will advocate on our behalf. Part of the AFJ's mission is to facilitate donor directed contributions which enables donors to support registered charitable organizations in Jamaica.


About Orbis International

Orbis International is an international non-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Its programs focus on the prevention of blindness and the treatment of blinding eye diseases in developing countries through hands-on training, public health education, advocacy and local partnerships.


Contact Info

The American Friends of Jamaica, Inc.


1697 Broadway, Suite 501


New York, NY 10019


T  212-265-2550 W