The Fred Hollows Foundation


Fred Hollows Foundation

The Fred Hollows Foundation is inspired by the work of the late Professor Fred Hollows (1929-1993).

Fred was an eye doctor, a skilled surgeon of international renown and a social justice activist who championed the right of all people to high quality and affordable eye care and to good health. Fred was committed to improving the health of Indigenous Australians and to reducing the cost of eye health care and treatment in developing countries. He had already started project work in Eritrea, Vietnam and Indigenous Australia. Since those early days, The

Foundation has gone on to work with countries throughout Africa, Asia (South and South East) and Australia focusing on blindness prevention and Australian Indigenous health.

In line with VISION 2020 goals, The Foundation has been working with local health bureaus and hospitals in China since 1998 to develop sustainable models of affordable and high quality eye care services for the rural poor. A large part of The Foundation’s work in China has been building expertise, experience and capacity among local health professionals.

Achievements 2013:

-Played a leading role in putting avoidable blindness elimination on the agenda through advocacy to key government, medical and corporate decision makers

-Performed 94,078 sight-saving interventions, including 7,028 cataract operations, 6,766 trachoma surgeries and 1,087 laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy

-Trained 30 surgeons, 65 clinic support staff and 2,464 community health workers including Dr Xiaoping Bai, the only eye specialist in Wuchuan County, Inner Mongolia, who has since performed over 100 surgeries

-Screened 145,323 people

-Distributed 41,520 pairs of spectacles

-Built or upgraded 10 medical facilities

-Provided $145,511 in medical equipment

-Commissioned an external evaluation of a three-year project in Gansu, Inner Mongolia and Jiangxi. It found an increase in both access to affordable cataract surgery and the skills of the local eye health workforce in each place.

We achieved these results working together with our partners.

About the Program

The Fred Hollows Foundation is working in partnership with government, the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, United Nations agencies and other NGOs to promote the cause of blindness prevention as a national priority. Our advocacy program is based on demonstrating workable and sustainable models of eye care that can be replicated to provide services for rural, poor and ethnic minority communities that remain under-served with eye health services.

The Sight for All Government Engagement and Advocacy project focuses on advocating at a national and provincial level for prevention of blindness initiatives.
Five rural eye care projects – in the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Inner Mongolia and Anhui, as well as in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region – aim to provide a foundation of evidence to back The Foundation’s advocacy work.
Our program in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is a new initiative. Xinjiang is one of the most undeveloped areas in north-western China and home to the world’s biggest population of people from the Uygur ethnic minority (9.4 million people). Uygur people, who mostly dwell in rural areas, are extremely disadvantaged, and many earn half the average salary of non-Uygur residents of Xinjiang. The area has one of the lowest cataract surgery rates in the country and the aim of the program is to reduce this inequity.
Anhui Province is another new program. This is one of the most populated but least developed provinces in eastern China, and the three counties identified for our project are considered “state-level poverty-stricken counties” by the Chinese Government. They straddle the Yangtze and Huai river basins and have a population of approximately 4.2 million, most of whom are farmers.
A strong public health system that prioritises eye health care is our goal, and the only way to address the eye health needs of millions of people who are avoidably blind in China.
The Foundation will continue to support the Chinese Government to develop a sustainable training model for eye surgeons and nurses. We will also address the emerging issues of childhood blindness and diabetic retinopathy.


To end avoidable blindness.

Major Projects

  • 1. Government Engagement and Advocacy on “Sight for All” (2013-2017)
  • 2. Replicable Comprehensive Rural Eye Care Model for Vulnerable Groups in Inner Mongolia (2014-2016) through “Seeing is Believing Program ” supported by Standard Chartered Bank
  • 3. Strengthening Rural Eye Care in Anhui Province (2014-2016)
  • 4. Comprehensive Rural Eye Care Model in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (2014-2016)
  • 5. A Comprehensive rural eye care model in Yunnan Province-increasing access for disadvantaged groups to universal eye care (2016-2019) through “Seeing is Believing Program ” supported by Standard Chartered Bank
  • The main work includes: 1. Human Resource Development; 2. Infrastructure Development; 3. Eye Disease Control; 4. Research, monitoring and evaluation; 5. Advocacy and Partnership Building.

Major Achievements

From 2006 to 2015, we screened 1,332,048 people, supported sight-saving interventions for 497,228 people, trained 223 surgeons and 2,481 clinical support staff and restored, upgraded or built 122 eye health facilities in China. Among which the rate of surgery in Jiangxi increased ten-fold, making it top of the country.

Major Funders

Standard Chartered Bank, The Fred Hollows Foundation (Most of funds are from individual and company donations)

Major Partners

·Health departments and medical institutions at different levels ·Disabled Persons Federation at different levels ·Civil Affairs Department at different levels ·Education departments at different levels ·Local governments ·Local communities and schools


We help people to help themselves. We work to build capacity at all levels, from village health centres to regional hospitals and national ophthalmological networks. We train local doctors and health workers, build and upgrade facilities, and provide equipment in order to achieve long-term sustainable eye health care. We focus on cataract, refractive error, diabetic retinopathy and Childhood blindness.