7 May 2009

NZ contributes to Fred Hollows Foundation

8:09 am on 7 May 2009

New Zealand is contributing 3 million US dollars to the Fred Hollows Foundation in a trans-Tasman effort to improve eye health, and treat blindness in the Pacific.

The Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says there an 80,000 blind people and a further 250,000 with impaired vision in the Pacific.

But he says up to 75 percent of blindness is preventable, and the economic and social impact of poor eye health must be addressed.

He says the funding will allow the Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, over the next three years, to train and equip at least 45 eye nurses and eight eye doctors throughout the Pacific and in Timor-Leste.

The Minister says that after training, each new eye doctor will be able to perform at least 200 cataract operations and see over 1000 new patients a year in their own country.

The Australian government is contributing around 6 million US dollars to the project.