Imagine facing a cyclone and pandemic, blind

This has been the reality facing many needlessly blind people in the Pacific. Now they face an even longer wait to get their sight back.

In New Zealand, we have faced some hardship recently because of COVID-19. At The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, we understand making donations may not be your first priority right now. But we ask you to remember, the need has not gone away - if anything it is greater than before.

Imagine you are back in Level 4 Lockdown; with all the restrictions and upheaval it brings.

Only this time you are blind.

You live on a small, remote island where no one can fix your eyesight.

You have been a prisoner of blindness far longer than the lockdown.

You are unable to move around your house freely.

If you survive Cyclone Harold, if you survive the deadly virus, your cataracts could be operated on but you have no idea when.

Our patients must now wait.

Millions of people around the world are blind simply because they don’t have access to eye care services, including in the Pacific where four out of five people who are blind don't need to be.

Why do our patients face a longer wait?

Our clinics are closed for normal business with only the most urgent, sight-threatening cases being treated. This is the right thing to do but a backlog of patients grows every day our clinics are closed.

Last year we performed 5,812 sight-saving surgeries and held over 100,000 consultations. We don’t know if we will be able to reach similar targets this year.

Our students have returned home. Before they decided to become eye specialists they trained to be general doctors and nurses, so they have returned to the front line where the need is greatest.

For the moment they are continuing their education online, but if restrictions continue they may face costly delays in their training.

A donation from you will help in this crisis. Like you, Fred Hollows believed that whatever was happening in the world, we should help each other.

Your support today and in the future will:

Help get our clinics back up and running. Our patients need us to be ready as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Provide support to staff in countries where Cyclone Harold has wreaked havoc.

Take away the fear and give hope to patients, many who are elderly, who still await their long-delayed consultations and operations.

Recommence in-country Outreaches to far-flung islands, where many patients are waiting for an operation.

Allow us to deploy additional resources to clinics including Personal Protective Equipment to keep them safe.

Get our students back studying - when this is over our graduates will be needed more than ever.

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