Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fred Hollows (Australian Heroes)

Dr Fed Hollows.
Frederick Cossom (Fred) Hollows, AC (April 9, 1929February 10, 1993) was an ophthalmologist who became known for his work in restoring eyesight for countless thousands of people in Australia and many other countries. It has been estimated that more than one million people in the world can see today because of initiatives instigated by Hollows.

Early in the 1970s, Hollows began visiting isolated New South Wales towns and stations and Aboriginal communities . He became especially concerned with the high number of Aborigines who had eye defects, particularly trachoma. In 1971, with Mum (Shirl) Smith and others, he set up the Aboriginal Medical Service in suburban Redfern in Sydney, and was subsequently responsible for the establishment of medical services for Aboriginal People throughout Australia. Hollows himself spent three years visiting Aboriginal communities to provide eye care and carry out a survey of eye defects. More than 460 Aboriginal communities were visited, and 62,000 Aboriginal People were examined, leading to 27,000 being treated for trachoma and 1000 operations being carried out.

Hollows received an Advance Australia Award in 1981, but was appalled at what he called blatant government disinterest in eye care for Aboriginal people, so much so that he refused to accept the Order of Australia in 1985. Nonetheless, he became an Australian citizen in 1989.

His visits to Nepal in 1985, Eritrea in 1987, and Vietnam in 1991 resulted in training programs to train local technicians to perform eye surgery. Hollows organized intraocular lens (IOL) laboratories in Eritrea and Nepal to manufacture and provide lenses at cost (about $10 each). Both laboratories started production after his death, in 1994.


none said...

Thanks for posting that. He is indeed a hero.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Interesting story and person. Thank you for sharing. It is important that we also learn to know about those who do good deeds...Not only about war and violence-heroes.

Lexcen said...

I do feel that too much emphasis is put on sports achievements. Great Australians need to have more recognition. That's the point of this series.