Caption: Fred Hollows eye specialist Michael Kalal checks Ramu NiCo employee Allan Wahwah’s glass lenses. Picture: JAMES G. KILA
By JAMES G. KILA
MORE than 50 Ramu NiCo employees and contracting workers had their eyes checked last Friday by specialists from the Fred Hollows Foundation PNG.
The eye-check is part of a partnership outreach program the foundation will conduct this month for mine workers and locals in the impacted areas of Kurumbukari and Basamuk.
A team from the foundation, based at the Mondilon Hospital, last Friday began at Ramu NiCo Madang base with eye check for the employees and contracted company workers conducted the specialist eye-check at Ramu NiCo’s Madang Operation.
The aim of this partnership program is to ensure the employees of the RamuNiCo project and its impacted area landowners at Kurumbukari in Usino-Bundi and Basamuk in Rai Coast district have access to this free eye-check-up service provided by the foundation.
The foundation wrote to Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd in early last month seeking approval to visit its two operation sites at Kurumbukari Mine and Basamuk Refinery to conduct free eye checks as part of its outreach and partnership program.
The company’s Vice President, Wang Baowen approved the request and tasked his corporate office to facilitate the program with the support of the two site medical officers.
On Sept 26, Corporate Office met with the Foundation program manager, Nicholas Gan and prepared a programs for the sites.
It was agreed that Kurumbukari visit will be on Oct 24 for a week and BSK visit will be after with date yet to be confirmed.
While preparing for the KBK visit, it was agreed that Madang Base staff would also have their eyes checked, which eventuated last Friday from 9am to midday. The services provided included eye check-up, dispensing of glasses and referrals for complicated cases for surgical intervention.
The Fred Hollows Foundation is a non-government organisation which is partnering with Modilon General Hospital for 10 years since its establishment in 2008 in carrying out eye care programs in Madang and the country, basically with the core values and goals in preventing avoidable and preventative blindness and restoring site for the people.
The foundation carries on the work of a very special New Zealander, the late Professor Fred Hollows (1929-1993).
Prof Hollows was an internationally acclaimed eye surgeon and social justice activist who championed the right of all people to high quality and affordable eye care.
The Fred Hollows Foundation was established in Sydney, Australia, on September 3, 1992, just five months before Prof Hollows died.
It has a vision of a world where no one is needlessly blind and work to restore sight and end avoidable blindness across Asia, Africa and the Pacific.