Advancing Eye Care: John Farmer’s Ongoing Mission in Papua New Guinea

18th Mar 2024

It’s easy to take for granted the excellent healthcare we receive in Australia, however across the world access to adequate healthcare is still a challenge for many. Earlier this month, John embarked on yet another journey to Papua New Guinea (PNG), a place close to his heart, where he has been instrumental in shaping eye care initiatives for over a decade and a half.

This two-week trip wasn’t just another visit for John; it was a continuation of his unwavering commitment to providing administration and finance support for PNG Eye Care, a non-profit organization he co-founded 15 years ago. The organization, which now employs six local individuals, focuses on providing affordable glasses at Port Moresby General Hospital and various eye care clinics and hospitals across PNG.

During his stay, John had the privilege of attending crucial meetings organized by the World Health Organization (PNG), the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and the PNG National Prevention of Blindness Committee. These meetings spanned two days and revolved around the adoption of the new National Eye Health Plan 2024 – 2029. This comprehensive document lays out strategic plans for the development of eye care in PNG over the next five years. It serves as a roadmap for various stakeholders and aid agencies, fostering collaboration to enhance the visual well-being of the people of PNG.

John engaged in discussions regarding the proposed curriculum for the NEHP

One of the highlights of John’s visit was his involvement in the ongoing development of the Optometry Degree program at the University of PNG. Sitting down with the Dean of the Medical and Health Sciences school, as well as several lecturers, John engaged in discussions regarding the proposed curriculum. This endeavour is crucial for building local capacity in eye care and ensuring sustainable solutions for the future. While progress has been made, there’s still work to be done, and John is committed to returning to PNG in May to continue the efforts.