The Fred Hollows Foundation has paid tribute to Paul Pholeros AM, a great Australian who used his skill as an architect to improve Indigenous health through better housing. Mr Pholeros passed away yesterday.
Paul spent more than 30 years' working to find ways to improve the health of disadvantaged people, particularly children, by improving their housing and the conditions of their living environment.
Paul was always focused on practical solutions to improve peoples’ housing. Inspired by the late Professor Fred Hollows’ concept of using “Health Hardware”, he worked with community members and tradespeople to deliver practical solutions to communities in need.
He started this work in 1985 with The Fred Hollows Foundation Board Member Dr Paul Torzillo and Public Health officer Stephan Rainow. Their partnership, Healthabitat, grew to deliver programs in areas as diverse as outback Australia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Soweto and The Bronx.
The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Brian Doolan said Mr Pholeros was an outstanding Australian who dedicated much of his life to improving the lives of Aboriginal people.
Paul believed you could improve the health of remote Indigenous Australians by improving and maintaining their living environments
- Brian Doolan, CEO - The Fred Hollows Foundation
“He knew that by giving people access to safe and well-functioning housing it would bring better health, particularly for young children.
“In recent years Paul and Healthabitat have also been working with The Fred Hollows Foundation to develop, design and construct a prototype solution to deliver water in remote communities in Ethiopia to help eliminate the eye disease trachoma.
“They are looking at ways to increase the water available for face washing and a toilet system and method of construction to remove human waste safely and reduce flies. This is a significant component of preventing the spread of trachoma and ending avoidable blindness.”
Mr Doolan said Paul believed the lessons learnt in Australian could be adopted in developing countries with solutions possible from local communities, skilled trades and professionals.
The Fred Hollows Foundation Board Member Paul Torzillo said: “Paul had an incredible mind and dynamism that he used consistently over 30 years to improve the living standards of people living in poverty.
“Through the sheer force of his personality he was able to inspire a generation of people to work to improve the living environment of disadvantaged communities. He was able to generate real momentum in the international community, focusing on water supply and sanitation in poor communities.”