The mission, carried out this month, included several ophthalmologists who provided free eye care health screenings and handed out reading and prescription eye glasses to 700 residents of Guyana.
The foundation, begun by the late George Subraj, a Guyanese native who founded the successful real estate firm Zara Realty Holding Corp. in Jamaica, Queens, has sponsored 63 corneal transplants, 34 kidney transplants and eight major heart surgeries, all free, to residents otherwise unable to afford this type of medical care.
The Foundation, now led by Tony Subraj, the son of its founder, partnered with the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and Suddie Regional Hospital on Guyana’s Essequibo Coast. The mission’s goal was to further expand medical care into the country’s poorer rural regions.
“We want to reach as many people as possible and continue to build on our past success,” said Tony Subraj, who is also vice president at Zara Realty in Jamaica, Queens. “In addition to treating serious conditions, our doctors are providing critical preventive care, which will result in better outcomes for patients with early stage illnesses. We are also helping to train doctors and volunteers in Guyana so that a healthcare infrastructure can be built that will complement and enhance the vital work the Foundation carries out on these missions.”
Residents traveled from throughout the remote Essequibo Coast area to receive screenings, eyecare, much needed medicine eyedrops, and glasses. The medical team included ophthalmologists Dr. Celeste Haynes-Hinds from GPHC and Dr. IIeana Agramonte from Suddie Hospital as well as Optometrist Jonelle Duke.
The Subraj Foundation was also instrumental in successfully procuring one cornea tissue which was used during this latest medical mission in to perform a corneal transplant operation by the GPHC doctors.
A second eye clinic is planned in another rural area, Leguan, with the goal of reaching another 300 residents. This upcoming mission will be led by George’s wife, Gloria Subraj, and her daughter Jasmine Subraj.
The medical missions introduced and funded by the Subraj Foundation beginning in 1992 resulted in the nation of Guyana’s first ever kidney transplant in 2008.
The government of Guyana supports the surgical missions via the use of medications, medical staff and the public hospital. The nation of Guyana is located on South America’s North Atlantic Coast and gained independence from British rule in 1966. It has high levels of poverty – its per capital income in 2015 was $4,090, according to the World Bank – and over 40 percent of its population is of Indian ancestry.
George Subraj, who emigrated to the U.S. from Guyana in 1971, worked for years at odd jobs for low pay in New York City. In 1982, he turned to real estate, buying his first property with his brothers Ken and Jay in Jamaica, Queens. Today, the firm he created has grown to include over 2.6 million square feet of residential and retail space in New York City and is one of New York’s largest providers of affordable housing.