A world in which no person is needlessly blind or vision impaired.
We work to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific.
We advocate for the right of all people to high-quality and affordable eye care.
We strive for eye care to be locally-led and accessible to all. In doing this we continue Fred’s legacy.
2022 saw The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ celebrate a hugely successful 30 Years of Restoring Sight - and what a timely celebration it was, as The Foundation moved full steam ahead with its programmes in the Pacific, following a challenging couple of years due to the pandemic.
With Dr Audrey Aumua in her second year as The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, it was an honour for the Board of Trustees to support her in the development of Future Fred: Our 2023 – 2032 Strategy. The strategy sets a path forward that will continue to champion the leadership within the Pacific, and push for stronger governance in eye health systems, all the while working towards our founder Fred’s vision of a world in which no one is needlessly blind or vision impaired.
The Foundation also welcomed The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor General of New Zealand, as our new Patron. We feel privileged that Dame Cindy has lent her influence to our cause.
I would like to take the time here to acknowledge and thank two of my fellow Trustees who have recently left The Foundation’s Board. Long-standing Trustee Dr Nick Mantell, who has been on the board since 2010, and Meg Poutasi who joined the board in 2021. The contribution made by both Trustees to the direction of The Foundation has been invaluable. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Will Cunningham, a cataract and retinal surgeon, to the board in May 2022 and Leo Foliaki, a chartered accountant, in January 2023.
The board also agreed a new Trust Deed which allows for Trustees to be appointed that are based in the Pacific, continuing with our commitment to focus on leadership within the Pacific.
This year, within our report, you will see a new section highlighting the start of our journey into sustainability reporting for The Foundation. Our work to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific is closely linked to sustainability because it involves implementing long-term solutions that address the root causes of visual impairment, such as a lack of access to healthcare. These solutions promote sustainable development by improving the eye health of Pacific communities in a way that is economically, environmentally, and socially viable.
Finally, as you will see from this report, 2022 was an exceptional year for The Foundation and I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone that is a member of Team Fred – our donors, our partners, our stakeholders, our staff in New Zealand and the Pacific and my fellow Trustees. All of you are tireless in your commitment to helping us end avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific.
The 30 Year Anniversary of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ provided an opportunity to look back and celebrate all that has been achieved. In fact, it was during this anniversary year that, with our partners, we achieved the incredible milestone of performing over one million eyesight consultations throughout the Pacific. This is tangible evidence of the success of The Foundation and its partners. It is also a tribute to the resilience and determination of our Pacific partners, who have faced a challenging few years.
An anniversary also provides the opportunity to look forward, strategise and plan how we can accelerate progress towards ending avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific. This has been a key focus for myself this year, developing Future Fred: Our 2023 – 2032 Strategy.
Future Fred is the collective voice of our partners and communities in our shared journey towards the goal of Pacific people benefitting from their own sustainable and resilient quality eye health systems. It is our 10-year commitment with Pacific governments and partners to assist them to design, lead, and strengthen their own respective eye health systems. Our role will be to support our partners to deliver on this commitment, ensuring long-term sustainability of eye health systems, with a focus on gender equity, disability and social inclusion, whilst always holding ourselves accountable to our values, purpose, and vision.
Alongside the development of the strategy, it was my absolute delight to see our teams and partners in the Pacific being afforded the opportunity to get back into the full swing of providing eye care, following a difficult few pandemic years.
With Future Fred now completed and able to guide and steer us, I am looking forward to working even more closely with our partners in our endeavour to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific.
I have been privileged to be a part of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ since it began delivering programmes in the Pacific. And now, as The Foundation celebrates its 30 Year Anniversary, I cannot express the immense pride I feel when I look at all that has been achieved over the intervening years.
Following the pandemic, this year provided our teams in the Pacific with the opportunity to completely get back to what they do best – restoring sight to people in need. Our first regional outreaches were held since the pandemic, with our outreach teams travelling across the Pacific to deliver eye care services to those remote communities desperately needing care.
With the pandemic creating backlogs of people needing urgent eye care, we witnessed record-breaking numbers at many outreaches, including in Samoa and Papua New Guinea.
Our team in Fiji also organised our first ever outreach for children, which saw 16 children from across the country undergo sight-restoring surgery, some on both eyes.
Excitingly, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in Fiji, we saw new equipment and surgical training take place, allowing the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, the main hospital in Suva, Fiji, to provide a range of complex eye surgeries that were previously unavailable in the Pacific.
And on a personal note, I had the pleasure of speaking at the inaugural annual Fred Hollows Lecture which was held at the University of Otago. I was joined by Gabi Hollows, Founding Director and Patron of The Foundation, and I was honoured to be able to participate in the event and share my eye care journey.
As Medical Director of The Foundation, this year has been an important one for me, as it has allowed my teams to get back to the fundamental basics of providing eye care and surgery to those that need it. That said, it is clear there is still so much more work to be done before we can eliminate avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific.
I look forward to being guided by Future Fred: Our 2023 – 2032 Strategy to achieve this.
Anshika Prasad is a recent graduate of the Pacific Eye Institute and recipient of the Fred Hollows Award for her achievements as a student. In 2022, she joined the eye care workforce as a nurse.
“It has been an amazing journey working with Team Fred. Coming from being a general nurse and doing my postgraduate in eye care has made me realise how important eye care is for any individual,” she said. “A lot of eye care services were put on hold during the pandemic. I saw my employment as an opportunity to serve the people of Fiji and the Pacific in such a difficult time. I have always believed the words of Professor Fred Hollows, that nobody should be needlessly blind. They have been the driving force for me to continue this good work.”
Future Fred has been developed to chart The Foundation’s voyage with Pacific island countries over the next 10 years as we support ongoing efforts to strengthen and integrate eye health within overall health systems. Our collective goal is Pacific people are benefitting from their own sustainable and resilient quality eye health systems. Although Future Fred is a 10-year Strategy, The Foundation is on a multi-generational journey to ultimately end avoidable blindness and vision impairment, particularly given growing rates of vision loss in the Pacific.
The Foundation’s work with its donors, governments and other partners over the past 20 years has enabled the development of quality eye health services in numerous countries across the Pacific. This has been possible through the establishment of specialised eye health qualifications delivered by Pacific universities, which has led to the training of 353 eye doctors, ophthalmic nurses, and clinicians, of which 65% are female. Currently, just under 80% of this total trained workforce delivers eye care across 13 countries. In total, they have delivered more than 88,000 eye surgeries and 1.1 million eye consultations with our support.
These achievements, together with our learnings, set the platform for our 10-year Future Fred Strategy. In developing our new strategy, we facilitated over 100 consultations with over 50 partners and stakeholders in the Pacific that included our own staff, ministries of health, academic institutions, NGOs, disability groups, development partners, and regional organisations. This enabled us to develop a strategy that ultimately has our partners’ aspirations at the heart of it, reflected in our strategic Ambitions:
To advance these Ambitions, we will focus our work on five Strategic Pathways: capability strengthening, partnership & collaboration, equity and inclusion, innovation, and research & advocacy.
Our work to support the delivery of sustainable quality eye health services that are embedded in Pacific countries’ eye health systems remains the cornerstone of our work. With the generous support of our donors, we will continue to work in partnership with Pacific Island countries and training institutions to ensure the ongoing development of a representative eye health workforce that meets the needs of Pacific people today and into the future.
If you want to know more about Future Fred or receive a copy of the full document, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asilika has 5 children and 11 grandchildren, all of whom were worried when she began to lose her sight from a developing cataract. Everyday tasks became very hard, and even little pleasures like reading her Bible were no longer possible. When pandemic restrictions eased in 2022, The Foundation and its partners were able to reboot the outreach programme. One of the first visits was to Nadi, Fiji, where a team of doctors and nurses saw and treated more than 400 patients.
Asilika was one of the last to arrive at the outreach, and with a half hour operation, her sight was restored. Since then, Asilika’s days have been busy caring for her children and grandchildren without any of the barriers of blindness.
At the age of 56, Bendo, from Papua New Guinea, lost sight in both of his eyes after years of worsening cataracts. When an outreach of eye doctors and nurses arrived in nearby Alotau Hospital, Bendo went with high hopes. The team was able to operate on Bendo’s left eye, and the next day, when his bandage was removed, his uncle was there by his side. He had travelled to the hospital to see the transformation for himself. “Look, look,” he cried, “I can see my uncle sitting there. I am so happy the eye doctor fixed my eye.” Both men were laughing and crying, overcome with joy.
Dr Epeli Navela comes from a small coastal village on Vanua Levu, Fiji, where the water is a terrific shade of blue and the coral reefs are breath-taking. Dr Navela left his home to work in public health before transitioning into ophthalmology and discovering his true passion for eye health. Now, he works at the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva, Fiji. The most rewarding part of his job is the moment he takes the bandage off a patient after bilateral cataract surgery. “Some patients who are grandparents have only ever heard their grandchildren’s voices,” he said. When they see their grandchildren for the first time, they start crying, and then you start crying.”
In September, an Outreach Team from the Pacific Eye Institute (PEI) in Suva, Fiji ran the first outreach for children, known as Paediatric Eye Surgical Week. Over the week, 16 children underwent sight-restoring eye surgery.
This outreach was able to go ahead thanks to the establishment of a new general anaesthesia platform at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital eye department, where PEI is based. This is a huge achievement for eye care services in Fiji, as it means they can now treat children and adults who require general anaesthesia and might have otherwise had to travel overseas for treatment.
Another key component of the outreach was the use of the new Faros Surgical Platform which was installed at PEI last June. This specialised equipment meant the main eye surgeon, Dr Subash Bhatta, could perform less invasive surgery on the children.
The team involved, headed by Dr Elenoa Matoto, also did a wonderful job planning the outreach and providing special care. They collaborated with the different departments at Colonial War Memorial Hospital and other hospitals across Fiji, to identify patients and gather all the information required for the pre-surgical process. As well as being more complex, surgery on children can be very frightening for the patient and their families, so this extra attention helped to ensure the best outcomes possible.
Ranjeeta Ranjani Devi is the Team Leader for the Diabetes Eye Clinic at the Pacific Eye Institute (PEI) in Fiji. In this role, she coordinates the setup and delivery of the PEI diabetes eye health services in Suva and the outreach program. She also accommodates the training needs of the students, community health workers, and nurses assigned to the clinic.
As well as the increasing prevalence of diabetes, and subsequently diabetes eye disease, Ranjeeta says that one of the hardest parts of her job is seeing more and more younger patients coming in.
“The youngest patient with type 1 diabetes was 9 years old and for type 2 diabetes, patients can range from 25 years and above. Also, the number of patients that need diabetes eye services can be overwhelming sometimes. Now and then it’s difficult to accommodate patients on the same day since we have a full clinic, and we are seeing patients to our maximum capacity.”
Comedian and Seven Sharp reporter Rhys Mathewson has joined the ranks as one of The Foundation’s supporters. In 2022 Rhys was busy highlighting our work, kicking off the year by competing in Dancing with the Stars NZ. Speaking to Women’s Day about his Charity of Choice, The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, Rhys said “I just really believe in the work that they do. I’ve donated to them for a couple of years myself. I think we, as New Zealanders, are very lucky to have our place in the Pacific, and it’s our responsibility to give back to our brothers and sisters in the islands.” Following the competition, The Foundation received a generous donation from Dancing with the Stars NZ for Rhys’s participation.
In 2008 Mike Collins had an idea about how to raise money for The Foundation. ‘There were plenty of trees being felled and burnt, yet people were still buying firewood,’ says Mike.
Mike and his fellow woodchoppers meet once a week to break up wood donated by Kerikeri locals. The wood is split, dried and then sold back to the community as firewood. The proceeds are then donated to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, helping to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific.
By 2022 Mike’s idea had turned into $340,000 of donations and counting.
Mike says, the Kerikeri Woodchoppers feel that ‘Fred was just out there doing, and that’s the Kiwi way, getting on and getting things done’.
This initiative isn’t just an inventive way to support our work, the Woodchoppers are a community who support and look out for each other. It’s a win-win!
2022 marked the 4th Humanity Awards, which were created to recognise young New Zealanders who, just like our founder Fred, strive to make the world around them better and embody the values of compassion, integrity, and kindness.
Madison Macmillan was named the 2022 Fred Hollows NZ Junior Ambassador for her big picture thinking and generosity. Madison has been fundraising since pre-school. She spends time at home writing, having penned and published her first book by the age of seven. The year 6 student has donated over $1,200 from the hundreds of books she has sold to the Northland Rescue Chopper Service.
The awards are going from strength to strength, and we receive dozens of inspirational nominations every year. Madison was surprised by Rhys Mathewson at her school in Whangarei when he turned up with a film crew to help announce her win, which later aired on current events show, Seven Sharp.
In marking our 30th Anniversary in 2022, we also celebrated the milestone of over one million people receiving eyesight consultations throughout the Pacific. We are proud to continue Fred’s work of ending avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific and are extremely grateful for the support of our partners, donors, and stakeholders, which makes this work possible.
Looking forward, the Future Fund 2023 details some key transformational projects which we are working on with country partners to deliver long-term sustainable eye care within stronger health systems. Two of our largest projects are our significant research project with the University of Auckland into the State of Eye Health in the Pacific, and the Papua New Guinea Expansion Programme. Support of The Foundation through the Future Fund provides passionate eye care professionals with the tools they need today and ensures that our long-term goal of high-quality eye care for everyone in the Pacific becomes a reality.
The impact of COVID-19 continued into the first half of 2022, however borders were reopened and travel restrictions eased in quarter two which allowed our teams to commence addressing the significant backlog that had resulted. Outreaches, surgeries and programme activities that were put on hold due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, resumed during 2022 resulting in a substantial uplift in expenses. Despite the adverse impact of the pandemic, the generosity of the New Zealand public continued, evidenced by consistent donation revenue.