Eye care in Vanuatu to be boosted by Fred Hollows Foundation

The capacity for eye care in Vanuatu is expected to be boosted substantially by funding from a Fred Hollows Foundation project.

To mark its 25th anniversary, the charity is upgrading and expanding the Port Vila National Eye Centre.

Combined with the impending arrival of a Foundation-trained eye doctor, the expansion will help increase Vanuatu's eye surgery capacity from 200 to 800 per year.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week announced it would make a contribution of around $US380,000 to the project.

The ministry's Deputy Secretary of the Pacific and Development Group, Jonathan Kings, said the upgrade would strengthen diabetic eye care in the face of Vanuatu's increasing number of diabetes patients.

"This facility will serve as a training facility and a primary healthcare site with a focus on diabetic complication. The Port Vila facility will provide an essential service in the control and management in NCDs [non-communicable diseases] and at the same time continue the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation to build quality eye care systems in the Pacific," said Jonathan Kings.