Two of the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ’s best ophthalmologists have been recognised as Eye Health Heroes by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB),

an alliance of 117 organisations leading global efforts in blindness prevention. The award recognises front line eye health workers who are committed to restoring sight and ending avoidable blindness in their communities.

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Dr John Szetu, Director of the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji and the Foundation’s Pacific Medical Director, and Dr Biu Sikivou, Associate Director of the Pacific Eye Institute & Lead Ophthalmologist of The Foundation’s Diabetes Eye Programme, received their awards at the 9th General Assembly of the IAPB in Hyderabad, India, this month.

 

“We are extremely delighted that Dr Szetu and Dr Sikivou have been recognised on the world stage for their contributions to ending avoidable blindness in the Pacific,” says Mr Andrew Bell, Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. “The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of a job and with high calibre, inspirational leaders like these, it won’t be long until our programs are run entirely by Pacific islanders.”

 

Among his myriad other achievements, Dr John Szetu (with the support of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ) established the Pacific Eye Institute in 2006, a training centre for Pacific eye health workers now located in Suva, Fiji. At around the same time he formed the Pacific Eye Care Society (PacEYES) to represent the interests of eye care professionals working in the Pacific Islands region.

 

Dr Szetu had long recognised the importance of training Pacific eye health workers to deliver eye care in their own communities, having already initiated and implemented successful training and service delivery programs in both Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Already, 84 eye health workers from 12 countries have been trained at the Pacific Eye Institute, and today they are providing eye care services in their own communities. Dr Szetu is highly respected by the global eye health community and has inspired others to join the fight against avoidable blindness.

 

Dr Biu Sikivou and her team have been providing vital diabetes eye care services at their clinic in Suva, Fiji, since 2009. The clinic is also a training ground for nurses and doctors from throughout the Pacific region.
Research undertaken by The Fred Hollows Foundation in 2009 revealed that more than 40 per cent of adults aged 40 years and over in Fiji have diabetes, and the demand for diabetes eye care services is enormous; in 2010 alone, there were 6,348 patient visits to the clinic, up from just over 4,500 in 2010.

Dr Sikivou and her team has also established an extensive outreach program to nine locations across the Central Division of Fiji. Patients are screened for diabetes eye disease and then referred to the clinic in Suva for laser treatment. In 2011, a total of 1,323 patients were screened on outreach - 40 per cent were found to have diabetic retinopathy.

 

Dr Sikivou also leads the surgical team in general eye surgery in the Pacific Eye Institute/CWM Hospital eye theatre once a week and has continued to actively contribute to research into diabetes and eye health in Fiji. Dr John Szetu was nominated by IAPB Western Pacific and Dr Biu Sikivou by The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.

 

The Foundation’s work in the Pacific is made possible through funding from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs New Zealand Aid Programme.

News & Updates


Two of the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ’s best ophthalmologists have been recognised as Eye Health Heroes by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB),

Following the departure of Dr Jim Stewart, PEI’s second director, near the end of 2015, Dr Biu Sikivou took up this role in August 2015.

  • Navua/Squatters          30 January  - 3 March                                                           
  • Wainibokasi                 6 March - 31 March                                                                        
  • Sigatoka                     3 April - 5 May  
  • Lautoka                      8 May- 16 June                                                                 
  • Nadi                           27 June- 11 August                                                                         
  • Ba                              14 August - 15 September                                                                           
  • Yaqara                        18-22 September                                                                            
  • Tavua                         25 September - 20 October                                                                        
  • Rakiraki                      6 -24 November 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Feb 15- Feb 24      ------ --Wainibokasi Hospital
  • March 29- April 22  ------ Suva Settlements (Waileya & Nanuku) 
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