Director of the Pacific Eye Institute and Solomon Island's ophthalmologist, Dr John Szetu flew the Solomon Islands flag high last week when he was honored with an International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness Regional (IAPB) Achievement Award.

The Award was presented to him at the 8th Annual General Assembly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Award was for his contributions to blindness prevention in the Western Pacific region.

Respected Solomon Islander, Dr. John Szetu, from Western Province, is currently working at the Pacific Eye Institute at the Fiji Medical Complex in Suva.

Dr Szetu also undertakes outreach clinics throughout the Pacific, providing eye care to remote Pacific communities and providing valuable 'on the ground' experience for trainee Pacific eye doctors and nurses.

Dr Szetu's award demonstrates international recognition of the progress made in eye care, including the development of an eye health training program and workforce within the Pacific Region over the last four years.

The dedication and passion of Dr Szetu in ensuring the development of a comprehensive and quality Pacific eye health workforce, and his ongoing advocacy with Ministries of Health for the acknowledgment of eye health as a priority, are invaluable contributions to the prevention of blindness and visual impairment within our Pacific communities.

Solomon Times spoke to Solomon Islands World Health Organization (WHO) Liaison Officer, Dr. William Adu-Krow, who praised highly Dr. Szetu for his achievement.

"This shows that there are many Solomon Islands workers whose work are being appreciated by others outside. We should all be very proud," says Dr. Adu-Krow.