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Monday / May 20.
HomeminewsANZ Jointly Funded Eye Training Facility

ANZ Jointly Funded Eye Training Facility

A newly constructed AUD$2 million facility to train ophthalmologists, doctors and nurses from around the Pacific has been opened in the Fijian capital of Suva.

Jointly funded by the Australian and New Zealand Governments, the Pacific Eye Institute (PEI) buildings meet an urgent need for an improved training and treatment facility.

Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd said the new buildings house training rooms for eye-care nurses, doctors and technicians from across the region, along with operating theatres, a laser-treatment room, an optical laboratory, offices and a resource centre.

New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully said that up to 80,000 people in the Pacific were blind, and a further 250,000 were visually-impaired.

Research suggests that through better access to eye health care and treatment 75 per cent of blindness cases are preventable.

“Making a major improvement to a person’s sight is often not especially expensive or difficult if there are qualified health professionals on hand to diagnose and treat people via simple surgical procedures,” Mr. McCully said.

“Research suggests that through better access to eye health care and treatment 75 per cent of blindness cases are preventable.”

Last year, PEI teams saw more than 20,000 patients in its old, cramped premises and outreach teams undertook more than 5,000 consultations and more than 1,000 surgeries-including 878 cataract removals in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Fiji.

The funding for the new facility was a key component of Fred Hollows New Zealand’s AUD$13.5 million Pacific Regional Blindness Prevention Program, funded by the Australian and New Zealand Governments in partnership with the Fred Hollows Foundation.