IMAGE: Tonga’s Minister of Health, The Honourable Dr Saia Piukala, signs Memorandum of Understanding with Craig Fisher, Board Chair of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.
The MoU, which was recently signed by the Board of The Foundation and Tonga’s Minister of Health, The Honourable Dr Saia Piukala, outlines The Foundation’s commitment to continue to deliver quality eye care services in Tonga, helping to put an end to avoidable blindness in the Pacific, where four out of five people who are blind, don’t need to be.
The signing of the MoU was followed by an event held at Government House to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. The event was hosted by Their Excellencies, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand and Patron of The Foundation, and Sir David Gascoigne.
As well as the signing of the MoU, the event celebrated what The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ has achieved over the last 25 years, including restoring sight to over two million people globally. In the Pacific alone, The Foundation has performed over 60,000 eye surgeries, trained 277 Pacific eye doctors and nurses and funded seven eye clinics.
One of the current eye doctors that The Foundation is training is Dr Duke Mataka from Tonga. Dr Duke is in his final year of training in Fiji before he returns to Tonga this year as a fully qualified eye doctor. This will be a pivotal moment for eye care in Tonga as this will be the first time in a number of years that Tonga will have access to an eye doctor all year round.