Kiwi legend Professor Fred Hollows had a vision of a world where no one is needlessly blind or vision impaired. He wanted to help people see, no matter who they were and where they lived. 30 years later, that vision lives on in The Fred Hollows Foundation.
From the work Fred and his wife Gabi Hollows started, The Foundation has grown to become a global leader in eye health and has restored sight to more than 3 million people worldwide.
Shortly after the establishment of The Fred Hollows Foundation in 1992, the New Zealand Foundation was created, initially as a fundraising branch of support the global organisation. Then, in 2002, the New Zealand Foundation began restoring sight and training eye health workers in the Pacific.
65,679 in 2021
3,428 in 2021
15 in 2021
But our work is not done. In the Pacific, 9 out of 10 people who are blind or vision impaired don’t need to be. We know that if more work is not done to scale up eye care services and train more eye care specialists, then the number of people with blindness and vision problems will grow. As Fred said, “It’s obscene to let people go blind when they don’t need to.”
As a Foundation, we have spent the last 30 years doing everything in our power to make sure this doesn’t happen, and we will continue to do the same for the next 30 years.
Alongside the University of Otago, we are proud to present the Inaugural Fred Hollows' Lecture hosted by Va'a o Tautai - Centre for Pacific Health, University of Otago. The annual lecture, which took place on Thursday 8 September 2022 was in memory of legendary Kiwi eye doctor and humanitarian, Professor Fred Hollows, and to celebrate The Foundation's 30 Year Anniversary of restoring sight.
Our inaugural speaker was Dr John Szetu, who has been delivering eye care in the Pacific since 1988. Dr Szetu is currently our Medical Director, and has worked with The Foundation team for the last 21 years. Among his myriad of achievements, Dr Szetu helped establish the Pacific Eye Institute in 2006, formed the Pacific Eye Care Society (PacEYES) to represent the interests of eye care professionals working in the Pacific Islands region, and held the position of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Western Pacific Region Co-Chair for the Pacific Islands Sub–Region from 2009–2012.
After the lecture, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between The Foundation and the University of Otago's Division of Health Sciences, continuing their collaboration to improve eye care for the people of the Pacific.