Who They Are
Fred Hollows is a development organisation working in more than 25 countries with a very clear purpose: to make sure everyone, whether they’re rich or poor, has access to high quality, affordable eye health.
They help train and empower local eye doctors, nurses and health workers to create a sustainable system of care in the communities that need it most.
The organisation was founded by Fred Hollows, an internationally renowned eye surgeon and humanitarian. Fred didn’t believe in charity, he firmly believed in teaching, supporting and empowering people to help themselves.
“We see a world in which no person is needlessly blind and Indigenous Australians exercise their right to good health.”
“We are inspired by the life and work of Professor Fred Hollows, an internationally acclaimed eye surgeon and an activist for social justice who championed the right of all people to high-quality and affordable eye care and good health.”
“Our values of integrity, empowerment, collaboration, and action underpin every aspect of our work both in Australia and around the globe”
Ending Avoidable Blindness
Since The Foundation began, they’ve restored sight to more than 2.5 million people.
Many people are blind because they don’t have access to quality and affordable eye health, and often with a simple, 20 minute operation can prevent blindness.
According to Fed Hollows, of the 36 million people in the world who are blind, many don’t have to be. Eye diseases like cataract, trachoma and diabetic retinopathy lead to permanent blindness when often, the conditions are treatable or preventable.
The Foundation works within the following areas to prevent avoidable blindness:
Fred believed that training and empowering local people was the key to sustainable change. The Foundation trains doctors, nurses and health care workers so they can recognise, diagnose, refer and treat eye problems in their communities.
Research & Technology
The Foundations invests in research and technology to create solutions that are more effective at restoring sight to even more people – and end avoidable blindness, faster
Creating change through social activism was something close to Fred’s heart. The Foundation’s advocacy work is all about working with governments, partners and local communities in achieving long term change.
Fred Hollows had a fierce determination to improve the eye health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Where It Began
The Foundation explains where Fred’s passion for helping indigenous people in Australia began:
“When Fred was working at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney in the late 60s, he was asked to see two senior Aboriginal men from Wattie Creek (Daguragu) in the Northern Territory. They had eye problems that Fred had never seen before. In fact, they had eye problems that doctors at that time thought were exclusive to Africa –they’d never been seen in Australia.
This sparked Fred’s interest, so he visited the men at Wattie Creek. When Fred began examining people there, he was shocked by the prevalence of blinding trachoma and cataract in men, women and children – a disease he didn’t think existed in modern-day Australia. Fred came back to Sydney fired up. He couldn’t believe the huge gap in living conditions and access to basic health care experienced by Aboriginal people, compared with the rest of Australia.”
“We cannot go on as a modern country living with this scandalous situation of
Aboriginal living conditions in Central Australia.” Fred Hollows
The Indigenous Australia Program
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are three times more likely to go blind, but 90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable. The foundation’s program in Australia focuses on education, screening and treatment to put an end to these alarming figures.
Close the Gap
According to the National Eye Health Survey Report, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are three times more likely to have vision impairment or go blind than other Australians. Furthermore, cataract is 12 times more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians than non-Indigenous Australians.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children generally have better vision than other Australian children, but as adults, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are three times more likely to go blind.
The Fred Hollow Foundation adds: “the poorer health and high burden of disease of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared to the non-Indigenous population is no secret. However, something can be done. Since 2006, Australia’s peak health bodies, NGOs and human rights organisations have worked together to achieve health and life expectation equality for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is known as the Close the Gap Campaign, and The Fred Hollows Foundation actively participates in and supports the steering committee.”
Reconciliation Action Plan
The Foundation’s vision for reconciliation is grounded in Fred’s deep commitment to, and respect for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“The key part of our mission is to work with partners to deliver high quality and culturally appropriate eye care services. Our aim is to make these services more accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote and underserved areas of Australia,” they say.
“We’re driven by Fred’s vision to eliminate avoidable blindness, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have access to quality health services, and to stand up for what is right. Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) represents The Fred Hollows Foundation’s ongoing commitment to embrace, respect and promote the cultures, rights and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
2018 Global Results
- 929,106 eye operations and treatments
- 24.7M+ people treated with antibiotics for trachoma
- 59,207 people trained including surgeons, health workers and teachers.
- 666 Medical facilities built, renovated or equipped
- $4.4M worth of equipment and infrastructure provided
- 2.4M school children and community educated in eye health
2018 Australia Results
- 16,140 people screened in underserved communities.
- 2,632 eye operations and treatments
- 1,142 pairs of glasses distributed
- 147 people trained
- 1,002 cataract operations
Ways to Donate
You can donate here to help the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation online, either as a one off donation or a monthly donation.
Donations can be done by credit card or Pay Pal.
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