The vision of Fred Hollows open a million eyes

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Auckland, May 19, 2017

The Fred Hollows Foundation has reached a record with over 1 million eye operations and treatments achieved in just one year, for the first time in its history.

Chief Executive Brian Doolan described the achievement as ‘an important milestone that brings pride in all.’

“We are now so much closer to our goal of ending avoidable blindness,” he said.

Legendary New Zealander

The Fred Hollows Foundation carries on the work of a legendary New Zealander, the late Professor Fred Hollows. He was an internationally acclaimed eye surgeon and social justice activist who championed the right of all people to high quality and affordable eye care. The Fred Hollows Foundation shares his vision of a world where no one is needlessly blind, and works to end avoidable blindness in developing countries across Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

Proud achievement
The Foundation reached the record more than 20 years after the death of Fed Hollows.

“Fred would never have imagined that the Foundation would grow to achieve so much and transform the lives of so many millions of people in the world’s poorest communities,” Founding Director Gabi Hollows said.

With the Foundation’s eye care specialists performing over 1,004,975 operations and treatments in 2016, the charity has seen more than 10% 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.

Foundation Executive Director Andrew Bell said, “Fred fought tirelessly for a world where no one is needlessly blind. 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.”

A historic perspective

The Fred Hollows Foundation of New Zealand was established 25 years ago and it initially raised money to support the global organisation, which works to end avoidable blindness in over 25 countries around the world.

Then, in 2002, the New Zealand 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, need not be so.

Last year in the Pacific region, the New Zealand Foundation also other outstanding results: (a) 82,242 people had consultations with The Foundation’s eye care team (b) 6947 sight-saving surgeries were performed, restoring independence and dignity (c) 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. 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,” Mr Bell said.

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Fred Hollows

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