Foundation commends DWU

The Fred Hollows Foundation has praised Divine Word University (DWU) for its proactive contribution towards quality eye care services in the public health system in Papua New Guinea.

Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand executive director, Andrew Bell applauded DWU and commended the President of the University, Fr Jan Czuba in particular, for providing the leadership in ensuring the Foundation brought its services to Madang and PNG in 2007.

Mr Bell offered the commendations at the opening of the state-of-the-art operating theatre for eye surgery at the Modilon General Hospital in Madang on Thursday 6th November, 2014.

Mr Bell said Fr Czuba, who is also the hospital board chairman, has been in the forefront of ensuring the eye care services that the Foundation provided internationally were brought to Madang and PNG.

He described Fr Czuba has having “great vision” towards supporting the causes for the needy just as the founder of the organization, late Professor Fred Hollows.

Fr Czuba said the university and the hospital in partnership with the Foundation were fulfilling government policy to provide quality eye care services to the public.

He said the Health Minister at the time (in 2007) was keen on eye care services to be boosted in the public health system and as a result, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Department of Health, the Foundation, DWU and the Hospital. Fr Czuba said the operating theatre is a result of the MOU that partners agreed to fulfill over the years.

He said the partnership the hospital, Fred Hollows and DWU have fostered is also in response to the call by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for universal action against blindness and eye problems.

Fr Czuba said in the world today there were 39 million blind people and a further 249 million visually impaired people and every effort was required to address this global health problem.

He said the hospital and DWU were glad to partner with Fred Hollows to help the thousands who suffer from eye problems.

As part of its contribution, DWU has been offering a post-graduate certificate in eye care to nurses in the public health system. This program is offered in partnership with Fred Hollows Foundation and the Modilon Hospital.

According to the Foundation’s deputy chairman, Craig Fisher, the program had 54 nurses graduate as eye care nurses who were working in 80 hospitals and health centres nationwide.

“This is something we are proud of,” said Mr Fisher.

He said “success comes through partnership”.

The operating theatre complex and equipment was funded by the Fred Hollows Foundation through its fundraising efforts. Mr Bell said NZAID and AusAID supported the project.

He said the theatre will be used for training eye care nurses and doctors while providing its normal surgery services to patients.

Mr Bell said the theatre is a good example of “sustainable eye care solutions” that help to realize the four aims of the Foundation. The aims of the Foundation are to restore the gift of sight, train doctors and nurses, provide support with appropriate infrastructure and carry out research.

Mr Bell said PNG was among 36 countries that the Foundation works to offer quality eye care services to the people. He said the Foundation carried out an initial research back in 2002 to gauge the possibility of bringing its services to PNG and based on the findings, the organisation moved to Madang and partnered with DWU and the hospital.