"Performing one million eye operations and treatments in a single year is an important milestone and one I am incredibly proud of," says Brian Doolan, Chief Executive Officer, The Fred Hollows Foundation. "We are now so much closer to our goal of ending avoidable blindness."
Occurring over 20 years after his death, it is a result that Fred Hollows himself would have been immensely proud of achieving.
"Fred would never have imagined The Foundation would grow to achieve so much and transform the lives of so many millions of people in the world’s poorest communities," says Gabi Hollows, Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation.
With The Foundation’s eye care specialists performing over 1,004,975 operations and treatments in 2016, the charity has seen more than a 10 per cent increase than on the previous year.
These included 147,000 sight-restoring or sight-saving cataract operations, performed in some of the poorest communities around the globe.
"Fred fought tirelessly for a world where no one is needlessly blind," says Andrew Bell, Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. "Reaching over one million operations and treatments in a single year is a tribute to the global organisation and its commitment to Fred’s unstoppable nature. A nature that inspired a new generation to carry on his sight-restoring work - with these sorts of staggering results."
25 years ago, The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ was established and initially raised money to support the global organisation, who work to end avoidable blindness in over 25 countries around the world. Then, in 2002, the NZ Foundation began restoring sight and training eye health workers in the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, where four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be.
Last year in the Pacific region, the NZ Foundation has also accomplished some outstanding results:
82,242 people had consultations with The Foundation’s eye care team 6,947 sight-saving surgeries were performed, restoring independence and dignity 21 eye care professionals graduated and returned to their home countries, contributing to the growth of a solid eye care system across the Pacific "These are incredible results for people suffering needlessly from blindness," says Mr Bell. "This is proof of Fred’s vision being made into a reality and shows what can happen when thousands of selfless New Zealander’s help us work towards a world where no one is needlessly blind."