Image: Dr.Farmer being presented the award by Professor Allison McKendrick
Many who have come across to know him, call him the father of Eye Care in PNG. He was someone resilient on eye care developments and teachings for the last 34 years. President of Ophthalmic Clinics, Sr. Schola Kapou described him as “a visionary leader, looked beyond the horizon on how the eye care programs will run in the country, in the Hospitals and be taught in the universities. He understood the importance of eyes for so many people in the developed nations in the world and ; PNG was no exception with almost half of its population live with some form of blindness”.
Dr. John Farmer over that time has provided service visits to rural areas, run training programs for nurses, been Head of the Department of Eye Care at Divine Word University or, DWU. He helped establish PNG Eye Care and the National Prevention of Blindness Committee. He also assists with teaching Ophthalmology trainees in Port Moresby.
With his undying contributions to the eye health sector in Papua New Guinea, he was recently awarded the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences’ University of Melbourne Alumnus Award for 2016. The award is made to an outstanding alumnus of the University of Melbourne Department of Optometry and Vision Science who has excelled in Community achievement, International achievement and or Professional achievement.
Dr. Farmer was presented the award by Professor Allison McKendrick infront of the current Optometry students from all 4 years of the Doctor of Optometry course. In accepting the award he said ,”…. a good education never stops throughout your life”.
He described the wonderful opportunities he has had through optometry to make a difference in people’s life, both in local practice and overseas. He encouraged the students “to always remember they are helping a person, not just a pair of eyes, and that they should always put the patients first and seek what is good for them”. “You have been blessed with knowledge and skill to be able to help others see well and stay healthy,” he told them.
Chief Ophthalmologist of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Simon Melengas commented further that his contribution to the human resource development has paved way for eye care as it is today. He congratulated Dr. Farmer.
“Eye Care in PNG would not have come this far without the help and touch of Dr. John Farmer, Dr. Jambi Garap, Eye Health Hero emphasised.
“We are very grateful for his contributions and service to PNG for the last 34 years and this message of commendation could not thank him enough. ”
Source: National Prevention of Blindness Committee
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