CONSTRUCTION OF REGIONAL EYE CENTRE IN HONIARA GOING WELL

New Zealand High Commissioner Marion Crawshaw and the visiting team. Photo credit: NZ High Commission Honiara.

New Zealand High Commissioner Marion Crawshaw and the visiting team. Photo credit: NZ High Commission Honiara.

Construction of the Regional Eye Centre at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara is progressing well, with its opening expected by mid-2015.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Marion Crawshaw and The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand’s Executive Director Andrew Bell visited the Eye Centre construction site on Thursday to inspect its progress.

A statement from the New Zealand High Commission Office in Honiara said the construction is progressing well and the centre is expected to be opened on time by the middle of this year.

The centre is being built using sustainable materials and a self-sufficient design with optimal use of solar energy and usage of
rain, grey and waste water.

It is also designed to be transportable, meaning it can be shifted to where the National Referral Hospital would be relocated.

Ms. Crawshaw said New Zealand is excited to support this substantial extension of Fred Hollows’ work on eye health in Solomon Islands.

Meanwhile, Andrew Bell explained that the centre will double the number of sight-restoring surgeries able to be performed in Solomon Islands, in its first year of operation alone.

He said once construction of the eye care clinic is complete, the actual reduction in car parks will be very small.

With the Regional Eye Centre, New Zealand supports the Fred Hollows Foundation’s efforts to provide essential ophthalmology equipment, materials training to ophthalmology staff in Solomon Islands.

New Zealand is the major investor in the Pacific Regional Blindness Prevention Programme through the Foundation.

She adds the Regional Eye Centre will be another centre of excellence for eye care in the Pacific, with six consultation rooms, a
two-bed operating theatre, procedure room and teaching centre.

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