News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Pacific eye care team to restore sight in Micronesia

Pacific eye care team to restore sight in Federated States of Micronesia

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is sending a team of eye doctors and nurses to The Federated States of Micronesia for the first time this March. The outreach team will be traveling from Fiji and the Solomon Islands to the capital of Chuuk for a week of sight restoring surgeries in the remote island nation.

“Fred Hollows would be proud to see our team doing the hard yards to deliver eye care to people in need,” said Andrew Bell, The Foundation’s Executive Director. “The people of the Federated States have no access to regular eye care and many of them are blind but don’t need to be.”

The Federated States, made up of four states and 607 islands, is found south of Guam and east of the Philippines. It marks a new territory as The Foundation continues in its quest to provide eye care to the whole of the Pacific region. The NZ charity already operates in 13 countries from Kiribati to Timor-Leste. The team of five eye care staff will need to travel first to Seoul and then to Chuuk - the journey presents a number of logistical challenges getting personnel and equipment to the Federated States.

Bell said that the outreach - an expression of friendship between The Foundation and the Federated States’ government - is part of a pilot program in the region, and shows The Foundation’s commitment to training local doctors.

“This outreach represents a fantastic collaboration between The Foundation and the government of the Federated States, with each of us paying for half the cost. They had the finances and we had the staff and expertise. Together, we are taking another step to build a sustainable eye care program. It is truly an exciting time,” said Bell.
Bell says the outreach also has a special significance for one of the doctors who's currently in training at the Pacific Eye Institute.

“The Foundation is training a talented young doctor from the Federated States. Dr Padwick Gallen has shown a strong commitment to his studies, and using his medical skills to help people in the developing world. Once he’s finished training, he’ll likely go on to lead the eye care services in the Western Pacific region.”

Dr Gallen hails from Palau, a neighboring island country west of the Federated States. He is currently in his third year of study at The Foundation’s Suva training facility, The Pacific Eye Institute, on a scholarship funded by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Prior to accepting a Foundation scholarship to pursue ophthalmology, he worked at Chuuk State Hospital and felt helpless when patients presented eye care problems.

“There is definitely a lack of eye care in the Federated States because nobody is looking after eyes,” said Dr Gallen.

“It’s sad to see a place like that with no eye care staff. Patients come to the hospital and ask if we can help with their eyes. Before I did my studies I would say, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have a clue.’ We would check their eyes, look, but what are you looking at?”

For Dr Gallen, the chance to return to his home country is a great opportunity to share his skills with his own people.

“I like helping people, that’s why I went to medical school,” he said. “The cataract surgery is a very rewarding operation - you operate today and they see tomorrow. I’m very happy to get a chance to offer this surgery to people in my own country.”

The outreach team will be screening patients from 17-21 March and then performing surgeries from 24-28 March. All members of the public are encouraged to come and get their eyesight checked, and all services are provided free of charge.

The team expect to conduct approximately 120 surgeries over five days. The majority will be sight-restoring cataract surgery but they are also prepared to handle other eye problems such as pterygium and lid conditions.

To watch video with Dr Gallen, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72hmB_hXuqs

About The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ
The Fred Hollows Foundation carries on the work of a legendary New Zealander, the late Professor Fred Hollows. Fred was an internationally acclaimed eye surgeon and social justice activist who championed the right of all people to high quality and affordable eye care. The Fred Hollows Foundation shares Fred’s vision of a world where no one is needlessly blind, and works to end avoidable blindness in 30 developing countries across Asia, Africa and the Pacific. In the last five years alone, The Foundation has performed nearly one million sight-restoring operations and treatments, and trained more than 38,000 local eye health specialists.

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ works in the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste where 4 out of 5 people who are blind don’t need to be; their condition is preventable or treatable. We restore sight to the needlessly blind and train local eye health specialists to provide eye care services in their own communities. hollows.org.nz

OutreachFred Hollows Foundation outreach to Federated States of Micronesia
DatesScreening patients from 17-21 March 2014
Eye surgeries from 24-28 March 2014
LocationChuuk State Hospital, Weno
General informationMembers of the public wishing to get their eyes checked should phone the Chuuk State Hospital on 691-330-7936.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

August 4: Centenary Of New Zealand Entering The First World War

PM John Key: I move, that this House recognise that on the 4th of August 2014, we will mark the centenary of New Zealand entering the First World War... More>>

ALSO:

Cyclists Net First NZ Gold

New Zealand won a gold meal and two bronzes on the first day of the Commonwealth Games. There was joy and heartbreak in an incredibly full day of sport. Here's how the New Zealanders fared. More>>

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news