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New Solar Powered Health Centre for Honiara

New Solar Powered Health Centre for Honiara

For immediate release: 9 June 2014

As part of its Pacific strategy The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is working with the New Zealand government to build a state-of-the-art eye care centre in the capital of the Solomon Islands. The $3.8million investment will create a sustainably designed facility and represents an ongoing commitment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the charity founded over 20 years ago by the late Professor Fred Hollows.

Andrew Bell, The Foundation’s Executive Director, emphasises the lasting impact of the centre for Solomon Islanders and the importance of accessible eye care for all.

“This investment by the New Zealand government will allow thousands of people to receive quality eye care in the decades to come. The Foundation has trained an outstanding team of eye doctors from the Solomon Islands. Now with this centre, they will be able to fully utilise their skills to help even more people in need.”

Bell says the centre is an example of the enduring influence of Professor Fred Hollows.

“The Foundation is working to realise Fred’s dream of a world free from avoidable blindness. Our patients in the developing world are deserving of the same quality eye care we expect here in New Zealand. To provide these services, our eye doctors and nurses require world-class facilities such as this health centre.”

The Foundation Director says the new facility sends a strong message to the people of the Solomon Islands and the Pacific region.

“The new centre will visibly demonstrate that eye care is a priority,” says Bell. “Second-hand equipment and makeshift clinics are not good enough to help Solomon Islanders who are needlessly blind.”

Bell says the contract plays a critical role in The Foundation’s ongoing strategy to make the Pacific region sustainable in eye care.

“As well as allowing us to restore sight to more people, this centre will form the hub of a regional strategy to support eye nurse graduates and provide additional training facilities. We are committed to working on the ground to provide long-term solutions and develop local leadership in eye care.”

The new health centre was designed by award-winning New Zealand architect Pete Bossley and is firmly rooted in sustainable design principles.

Bell notes, “This centre is a model of ‘smart development’ with many of its structural and design elements developed here in New Zealand. We’re incredibly grateful for the time Bossley and his team have donated to us, from the very genesis of the idea. They have brought us a wealth of experience over the last two years in designing the centre to be self-sufficient and equipped to handle Pacific conditions.”

Construction on the new building begins in Honiara later this month with plans for it to open early in 2015. The project represents a tripartite collaboration between the New Zealand government, The Foundation and the Solomon Islands government. While funds and expertise for the building come from New Zealand, the centre will be run by the Ministry of Health in Honiara as part of National Referral Hospital. The centre will serve the far reaches of the nation, through outreach services to remote communities and patient referrals to the capital.

ENDS


Notes to Editors

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.

Appendix

Impact on eye care in the Solomon Islands

• It is estimated that the new health centre will double the number of sight-restoring surgeries able to be performed in the Solomon Islands, in its first year.
• It is estimated that the centre will increase capacity from 30 to 60 outpatients per day, and from 10 to 40 surgeries a week in its first year alone.
• In subsequent years, the impact of the centre will be even more wide-reaching.
• It is estimated that at least 1,900 people will be able to receive sight-restoring eye surgery at the centre in the first year, and 11,000 people will be able to have their eyes treated for a range of conditions.
• The centre will increase the number of eye surgeries across the Pacific region as a whole by at least 30%.

Sustainability Specs

• The centre will be designed by Bossley Architects and built by TCS and is remarkable for its self-sufficiency and durability.
• 94% of the building’s power will derive from solar energy, and the remainder from a diesel-powered generator.
• The extensive 100 Kw system was devised by What Power Crisis.
• 400 solar panels will deliver 150,000 Kilowatts per year – that’s the equivalent to the power consumption of 20 New Zealand homes in one year.
• The centre will include SMA solar inverters, specially produced for use in the developing world. They convert the direct current from the solar module into an alternating current.
• The solar system effectively drives the air conditioning system, which has been designed to provide the necessary pressure gradient required in medical operating theatres.
• The system will be monitored remotely by specialists in New Zealand, but local technicians are trained to handle any issues.
• Power in the Solomon Islands is five times more expensive than in New Zealand, with Honiara suffering up to ten power cuts each day.
• Construction is from New Zealand pine, an environmentally-friendly product which allows for the careful management of the timber treatment process. The timber rating is such that the clinic is expected to have a 50 year lifespan.
• Natural ventilation in selected parts of building reduces energy needs.
• The use of New Zealand companies in the creation of the centre means that it will meet approved earthquake resistance standards, fire safety guidelines, and the strict standards required of medical facilities.
• The clinic’s design sees it raised off the ground, giving it greater protection from natural disaster such as flooding. It has been designed to withstand winds in excess of 200km/hr.
• The Foundation expects that the design concept for this building will function as a blueprint for other infrastructure development in the Pacific region.

Pete Bossley
Director, Bossley Architects

Pete has an extensive reputation in architecture and interior design, with particular experience in galleries and museums, residential and retail. He was the joint principal responsible for design and documentation of the architecture of the national Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, whilst a Director at Jasmax, including interior design of all public and work spaces. He is involved as concept designer in all projects in the practice, and his work has received numerous architectural awards. He has exhibited and lectured extensively on his work here and overseas, including Tokyo, Vancouver, Santiago, and Australia. He has also taught architectural design for over 25 years, and was Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Unitec Architecture and Landscape School. In 2012 Pete was awarded the NZIA Gold Medal, the highest honour in New Zealand Architecture.

Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell was appointed Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ in March 2012. In his role, Andrew leads the organisation to achieve its vision of a world where no one is needlessly blind, working closely with staff, supporters and the Board of Trustees to ensure its success.

Andrew originally joined The Foundation as International Program Director in 2010, to lead The Foundation’s extensive eye care programs. He successfully brought to completion three major infrastructure developments at the Pacific Eye Institute, Fiji, the National Eye Centre in Timor-Leste, and the eye clinic at Kimbe General Hospital, Papua New Guinea.

Born and raised in South Africa, Andrew graduated as an ordained church minister in the early 1990s. Realising early on that he wanted to work with the urban and rural poor, he led the Zululand Mission, establishing a school for underprivileged children. He was also heavily involved in the nation’s first democratic elections. After an opportunity arose to complete his Masters degree at The University of Auckland, Andrew moved to New Zealand with his family in 1996. He worked as Senior Chaplain at St Kentigern College, and later managed the international development program of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ for seven years.

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