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Helping People See Again In Fiji

A Hamilton – built mobile eye clinic is tipped to be a ‘game changer’ for thousands of people in Fiji and the Pacific who have treatable eye conditions. The Fred
02 Dec 2014 08:31
Helping People See Again In Fiji

A Hamilton – built mobile eye clinic is tipped to be a ‘game changer’ for thousands of people in Fiji and the Pacific who have treatable eye conditions.

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ’s new surgical unit was built and designed by Hamilton manufacturer, Action Motor Bodies and the unit was revealed to the public for the first time recently, at the company’s Te Rapa base.

It will soon be shipped to Fiji where it will be used to bring sight back to hundreds of people.

Four out of five people in the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste who were blind had conditions that were preventable or treatable. “This is the solution,” said the foundation’s executive director, Andrew Bell.

He said 70 per cent of patients who suffer from an eye condition could be helped with a $2 pair of glasses.

“The other 30 per cent – 4 out of 5 of them we can fix.”

The foundation worked in 30 developing countries across Asia, Africa and the Pacific and has the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji’s capital, Suva.

Many people with blindness were elderly, poor and lived in remote parts of the island nation and access to treatment was an issue but Mr Bell said the mobile unit would change that.

“If your family can’t get you there, if your family is too poor to get you to the bus, you are going to get help so we bring it to them.”

The clinic will be shipped to Fiji early next year as a gift and Mr Bell said it was a first for the Pacific.

“This mobile technology has never been put into the Pacific, this is a very sophisticated piece of equipment and a fantastic piece of Kiwi ingenuity.”

The clinic was built at a cost of $NZ750,000 ($FJ1.48m) from donations and was a one-stop-shop for free eye checks, cataract surgery and laser treatment. Waikato Times

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