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Kiwi heroes keep eye on Pacific

Kiwi heroes keep eye on Pacific

Michael Jones and
The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ’s top Pacific Eye Surgeon,
John Szetu are campaigning to restore sight in the
Click to enlarge

Michael Jones and The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ’s top Pacific Eye Surgeon, John Szetu are campaigning to restore sight in the Pacific.


Kiwi heroes keep eye on Pacific

Michael Jones is putting his weight behind The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ’s campaign to raise funds to fight avoidable blindness; a campaign started by local Kiwi hero Fred Hollows over 15 years ago and long supported by The Foundation’s late patron, Sir Edmund Hillary.

When Jones first heard that across the Pacific there are 80,000 blind people, and 70% could be cured with a 20 minute operation that can cost as little as $25 in some countries, he wanted to help. Known for his commitment to building youth leadership in the Pacific, he felt an accord with the Foundation’s approach to its work.

“I am shocked by the numbers of blind in the Pacific ,” said Jones

“It is essential that we invest in Pacific medical leaders so that they can restore sight to our Pacific brothers and sisters. Kiwi icons Professor Fred Hollows and the Foundation’s first Patron, Sir Ed, called for this approach of helping people to help themselves, and I support this wholeheartedly,” he said.

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is launching an appeal to raise urgent funds needed to train more Pacific eye doctors at their regional training centre, the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva, Fiji. Speaking at their appeal launch this week, the Institute’s director and key eye surgeon, Dr John Szetu, said that training local doctors makes a huge difference to the region.

“Every well trained eye surgeon can restore sight to thousands over his or her lifetime,” said Dr Szetu.

“This provides a sustainable long-term solution because the service remains available to people all the time, and follow up care is always in place,” he said.

Michael Jones presented Dr Szetu with the inaugural Sir Edmund Hillary Pacific Eye Scholarship, named in memory of The Foundation’s late patron. This scholarship will be awarded to a Pacific doctor each year to train as an eye surgeon, and to spend one month at The Foundation’s partner Eye Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Receiving the Scholarship, Dr Szetu said he was delighted that a new path to the Institute was opened for Pacific doctors.

“There are so few scholarships available to Pacific doctors to receive postgraduate training. This will make such a difference to blind people in the Pacific. It is wonderful that the Sir Edmund Hillary Pacific Eye Scholarship can link Pacific eye doctors to Nepal, such a special place for Sir Ed, and also, a leading centre in eye care in developing countries,” said Dr Szetu.

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is raising money to train and equip more Pacific eye doctors and restore sight to the 80,000 needlessly blind in the Pacific. Just $25 can help restore sight.

24 Hour donation line 0800 227 229 or online donation www.hollows.org.nz


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