Dr Fred Cossom Hollows
it is amazing to think that one man can be attributed to restoring the sight to over one million people, this is the story of Fred Hollows. Frederick "Fred" Cossom Hollows, (9 April 1929 – 10 February 1993) was an eye specialist who became known for his work in restoring eyesight for countless thousands of people in Australia and all over the world. He worked tirelessly with Aboriginal communities to give them a better quality of life and to help narrow the gap between the Aboriginal people and White Australians.
In 1971 Hollows established the Aboriginal Medical Service at Redfern and then in 1975 pioneered the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program. Throughout the seventies and eighties, Hollows raised public awareness of Australia's terrible neglect of Aboriginal health. His team flew out to many outback settlements in Australia where they identified and treated eye disease, thus preventing thousands of cases of blindness. Hollows himself spent three years visiting Aboriginal communities to provide eye care and carry out a survey of eye defects. More than 400 Aboriginal communities were visited, and over 50000 Aboriginal People were examined, leading to 25,000 being treated for tracoma and 1,000 operations being preformed. He also set up similar schemes in Nepal and Eritrea.
Hollows was a hard living, pipe smoking rough diamond kind of doctor who was not afraid to speak his mind and champion his cause of help the poorer communities of Australia. Hollows was named Australian of the Year in 1990. After a six year battle with cancer he died in 1993, and was given a state funeral. He is buried at Bourke in his beloved N.S.W outback. In his autobiography he declared 'having a care and concern for other is the highest of human qualities. It distinguishes us from animals.' His legacy of restoring sight to thousands of underprivileged people continues through the Fred Hollows Foundation.
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