Training doctors and nurses

Fred knew that training just one eye doctor could have a huge impact; because they could go on to train hundreds more. That’s why we train a range of eye health specialists in the Pacific.

Training doctors and nurses

Fred’s passion for teaching

Fred believed there should always be three people in a room: a teacher, a student, and a patient. He took great delight in seeing the moment of understanding in his students’ eyes, and knew that one day they’d be teachers too.

“Teach the teachers first, then the teachers can teach others.”
– Professor Fred Hollows

The last lesson

Despite being very ill with cancer, Fred discharged himself from hospital in July 1992 to fly to Hanoi. He wanted to fulfil his promise to train over 300 Vietnamese eye specialists in modern eye surgery techniques. Students packed the operating theatre as Fred, too ill to perform the surgeries himself, instructed his students with his usual enthusiasm, dedication and demand for perfection. Today, his former students are performing more than 160,000 surgeries a year.

Building a local eye care workforce

One of the biggest challenges in the Pacific is the shortage of trained eye care workers. We train desperately needed eye doctors, eye nurses, community health workers and technicians in Fiji at the Pacific Eye Institute and in Papua New Guinea in partnership with Divine Word University and Modilon General Hospital. Our graduates return home to work for their Ministries of Health, giving tens of thousands of people access to high quality eye care services. We provide on-going support and mentoring to make sure they have everything they need.

Four post-graduate level courses are offered for eye care professionals at the Pacific Eye Institute:

  • Master of Medicine (MMed (Ophth))
  • Master of Community Eye Care (MCEC)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology (PGDO)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Eye Care (PGDEC)

Foundation-trained Dr Nola Pikacha, the first female eye doctor in the Solomon Islands
Foundation-trained Dr Nola Pikacha, the first female eye doctor in the Solomon Islands

Graduations 2017

Fiji National University/Pacific Eye Institute

  • One doctor graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology and is staying on at Pacific Eye Institute to study towards his Masters in Medicine (Ophthalmology)
  • 11 nurses graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Eye Care
  • Six nurses graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Diabetic Eye Care
  • Two nurses graduated with a Masters in Community Eye Care

Divine Word University

  • Nine nurses graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Eye Care

Training 2017

Community health nurses visit communities, diagnose a range of conditions, and refer people to medical clinics, hospitals and doctors.

  • In 2017, we up-skilled 327 community health nurses from six countries on the complications diabetes can have on the eye and the need to refer patients with diabetes for regular eye screening.
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