Over the past five years, The Fred Hollows Foundation has delivered a global workforce of over 30,000 skilled eye health workers.

Professor Fred Hollows believed local people were best placed to deliver health care to their communities.

His dream was to see eye doctors across the globe equipped with the skills and tools to eradicate avoidable blindness and improve lives.

In 2010, The Foundation continued Fred's legacy, supporting training for eye surgeons in some of the world's most remote and challenging regions.

Medical training in 2010:

  • 97 surgeons were clinically trained
  • 1,435 nurses and support staff were clinically trained
  • 8,260 community health workers were trained
  • 3,169 existing eye health professionals were up-skilled

The Foundation boosted sub-specialty numbers to tackle global endemics like diabetic retinopathy and childhood blindness. And emerging leaders were equipped to manage eye hospitals facing enormous blindness burdens on shoestring budgets.

More eye nurses and clinic support staff are desperately needed. The Foundation supported clinical training for new nurses in high volume surgery.

The Foundation helped develop nursing curricula and supported existing nurses to become trachoma specialists.

However, Fred didn't just want eye doctors and nurses. He knew that getting cataract sufferers out of the darkness and onto the operating table relied on grassroots community health workers.

They are the ones who go door-to-door letting villagers know about eye screenings; organise transport to faraway hospitals for surgery; and provide support to patients, many of whom have never seen a doctor.

And the story doesn't end here.

The multiplying effect

Eritrea: Training the trainers

In 1987, Fred Hollows brought Eritrea's only ophthalmologist Dr Desbele Ghebreghergis to Sydney to learn modern cataract surgery techniques at Prince of Wales Hospital. A few years later, Fred was back in Eritrea, training hundreds of local ‘barefoot doctors' to cure cataract blindness.

Eye doctors like Dr Desbele have since trained hundreds of medical workers themselves. And in the years ahead, the results of The Foundation's training drive will multiply, as those trained go on to teach literally thousands of others to restore sight.

Find out more about our work in Eritrea.

Cambodia: Breaking barriers

A young Cambodian woman has taken the final steps to become the first female ophthalmologist in her country. Dr Ouk Soleaphy, 26, is the first woman to complete the Ophthalmology Residency Training Program established by The Foundation and Cambodia's National Program for Eye Health.

Find out more about our work in Cambodia.