Two new Vision Centres have opened in Papua New Guinea, adding to the country's established centres in Port Moresby, Mount Hagan and Lae. The new centres, in the towns of Buka and Mendi are an initiative of PNG Eye Care and the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE) with funding from the Australian Government's Avoidable Blindness Initiative.
The Centres will provide quality, free eye examinations and affordable eye glasses. Additionally, they will provide a long term solution to eye care service availability. The initiative aims to ultimately reduce avoidable blindness and vision impairment in Papua New Guinea.
Both Vision Centres are supported by the Australian Government's Avoidable Blindness Initiative through the Vision 2020 Australia Global Consortium, a partnership of nine Australian eye health and vision care organisations.
Dr. Cyril Imako, Chief Executive Officer of the Buka General Hospital expressed his support for the new Vision Centre."The PNG Eye Care Centre couldn't have come to Bougainville at a better time. It has been a long time that the people of Bougainville have been in need of a local eye care centre."
Dr. Jambi Garap, Board President of PNG Eye Care and Chair of the National Prevention of Blindness Committee PNG, commented on the new Vision Centre expansion. "This is an exciting time for PNG Eye Care. The opening of two more Vision Centres we believe is going a long way to extending long term eye care services to more remote parts of the country. PNG Eye Care is offering a solution: it is a fact that without affordable, accessible eye care, communities suffer. Sustainable vision care delivery helps create opportunities for individuals, families and ultimately the community."
In Papua New Guinea there is a desperate need for eye care services. A recent study conducted in PNG suggested that 29.2 per cent and 8.9 per cent of people over 50 years of age are vision impaired and functionally blind respectively. Uncorrected refractive error (or the need for a pair of glasses to see) and cataract are the leading causes of vision impairment.