Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru, met with Tony Fautua, Ambassador of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ (FHFNZ), to reaffirm and finalize the arrangements in Port Moresby.
The FHFNZ has been working in PNG since 2003 with the overarching goal of ensuring the people of Papua New Guinea have access to high quality eye care provided by skilled local eye care personnel working in a supportive, sustainable healthcare environment.
From 2012-2017, the FHFNZ has spent up to K17 million in eye care infrastructure and equipment. They have also worked with the Divine Word University and Modilon Hospital in upskilling and training in eye care, infrastructure and equipment.
Whilst the FHFNZ has been working effectively, there is still very large unmet needs in eye care generally. One of this includes the insufficiency of current facilities to train ophthalmologists to meet the significant needs of the population and to accommodate future increases in eye care training and service provision.
Minister Maru has expressed, on behalf of the Government of PNG, our greatest support to the government of New Zealand to partner with the FHFNZ who have the comparative strength in ophthalmology and to build on their current work in eye care.
The expansion of this work involves the construction of a purpose-built Centre for Excellence for ophthalmology in Port Moresby in line with the National Government’s plan to upgrade PMGH to a Level 7 Super Specialist Hospital.
The COE will provide a state-of-the-art facility where doctors and nurses can train in ophthalmology side-by-side; provide space for surgical consultations and procedures, and refraction services; provide a central base for the local eye care team to conduct outreaches to rural provinces; and provide a patient-centred screening and counselling for the main complications of diabetes.
With the FHFNZ, the Government of PNG through the National Department of Health, Department of National Planning and Monitoring, the Port Moresby General Hospital and the University of PNG are working to ensure that the land verification requirements for construction to proceed smoothly, including manpower and general health and building standards, are in order.
Minister Maru conveyed his deepest appreciation to the government of New Zealand and the FHFNZ and welcomed their plans in the area of eye care that is a specialist health service that will surely promote PNG’s development aspiration stipulated in the Government’s Medium Term Development Plan III 2018-2022.
(From left: Dr. John Manuel Flores, Country Manager, Tony Fautua, Ambassador of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ and Minister for National Planning Richard Maru)