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NZ support for new Pacific eye care centre

NZ support for new Pacific eye care centre

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced New Zealand will contribute $3.8 million to the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ for a new regional eye care centre in Solomon Islands.

“Around 80,000 people in the Pacific are blind, and four out of five of these people could have their sight restored through an operation,” Mr McCully says.

"In addition to robbing people of their sight, avoidable blindness can also negatively impact employment opportunities for individuals and cause hardship for Pacific families and communities.

"Once it opens the new regional eye care centre will deliver 1,900 eye surgeries a year and allow 11,000 people to have their eyes treated for a range of conditions.

“The centre will also provide regional support and training to eye health professionals to develop the local workforce in the Pacific.

"The regional centre in Solomon Islands is an important addition to the valuable work that the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ does to improve eye health across the Pacific," Mr McCully says.

Construction on the new centre begins in Honiara later this month with plans for it to open early in 2015. The building has been designed in New Zealand to achieve high levels of sustainability and includes solar panels that will generate more than 90 per cent of its energy needs.

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