Blindness prevention: Skills boost in South East Asia

Eighteen eye health experts from Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) have just arrived in Australia to undertake study fellowships with The Fred Hollows Foundation.

The Foundation’s CEO Brian Doolan said the health managers and ophthalmologists have been handpicked to complete Australian Leadership Awards Fellowships. Each is employed by a health department working with The Foundation in Cambodia and Lao PDR.

“The challenges eye care agencies face in Cambodia ... and Lao PDR are complex and unique to each country,” Doolan said, on announcing the fellowships. “Fred’s approach was to support local experts to create the most appropriate eye health programs for their setting. That’s what these fellowships are about.”

During their stay, participants will learn new health promotion strategies. They will attend workshops, conferences and short courses. The fellows will also visit The Foundation’s Northern Territory Indigenous Eye Health Program.

“There’s no point delivering health care if people don’t know where to find the treatment and can’t afford it,” Doolan said. “Participants will return to work better equipped to provide accessible, affordable eye care to remote communities.”

The fellowships follows previous rounds which brought eye specialists to Australia from Bangladesh in March 2010 and Pakistan in July. They are offered in partnership with AusAid. In November, another group of fellows will visit Australia from Nepal.

>Learn more about The Foundation's Cambodia and Lao PDR programs.
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