The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is excited to announce the $2.1 million upgrade and expansion of the Port Vila National Eye Centre in Vanuatu.
The upgraded eye centre, combined with the upcoming return of a Foundation-trained eye doctor, will help to eventually increase Vanuatu’s eye surgery capacity from 200 to 800 per annum, which will meet the country’s needs as estimated by the World Health Organization.
“This project has been made possible through the support of our amazing donors and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone that so generously donates to our Foundation,” says Andrew Bell, Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.
“We would also like to especially acknowledge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand Aid Programme for contributing $550,000 towards the Port Vila National Eye Centre project. The funding will cover the costs of the eye centre’s multi-purpose facility, as well as a solar power system to provide the centre with consistent, clean and sustainable energy.”
“The New Zealand Aid Programme is proud to have supported the important work of The Fred Hollows Foundation in the Pacific for many years,” says New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass.
“Providing funding towards the Eye Centre is a valuable investment in dramatically improving the quality of life for the many ni-Vanuatu who are suffering from preventable blindness.”
Not only will the upgraded eye centre help to dramatically increase Vanuatu’s eye surgery capacity, but it will also help to cater for the escalating number of diabetic eye care patients in Vanuatu.
“Although The Foundation’s focus continues to be reversing cataract blindness in the Pacific, we are now finding ourselves dealing with another major cause of avoidable blindness in the region – diabetic eye disease,” says Mr Bell. “Diabetic eye disease is a complication of diabetes and is the world’s leading cause of avoidable blindness in the working age population.”
“The upgraded eye centre will enable us to take a more integrated approach to diabetic eye care in the face of the rapidly increasing number of diabetes patients in Vanuatu.”
The Port Vila National Eye Centre project will include: