Friendlies support Cambodia Vision

The Friendly Society Private Hospital is continuing its support of local medical professionals who provide life-changing treatment through the Cambodia Vision project.

The Friendlies has been donating anaesthetic drugs since 2012 and this year is providing 60 boxes to assist Bundaberg anaesthetist Dr David Merefield, who departs for Cambodia on 2 December.

Dr Merefield has been providing services at The Friendlies since 1997 and first went to Cambodia six years ago.

This year he’ll be joined by fellow anaesthetist Dr Robert Edwards, Friendlies surgical nurse Jane Malpass and four other local nurses.

Wide Bay Anaesthesia Specialists are also donating drugs to the mission.

The Cambodia Vision volunteer medical team undertakes cataract procedures and provides medical care free of charge to local people in rural parts of the country.

Research shows that Cambodia has a high incidence of preventable blindness with about 70,000 new cataract cases each year. On his first trip in 2016, Dr Merefield said 3600 people came into a small town to be seen and 433 people had operations over six days. Dr Merefield said the procedures make a huge difference to people’s lives.

“When you actually do a cataract operation you restore one person’s sight but you make a difference to three people because no longer does that blind person require someone to stay around and look after them,” he said.

“That person who can now see becomes productive and works out in the fields again.”

Dr Merefield said he appreciates the support from The Friendlies and the Bundaberg community.

Friendlies CEO Simone Finch said the hospital was proud to support doctors and nurses who volunteer to help others and would continue to back Cambodia Vision.

“Cambodia Vision survives solely through sponsorship and community donations to accomplish its mission,” she said.

“The Friendlies is a caring community, and we like to encourage all our professional partners and The Friendlies team in their endeavours to make a difference.

“Through this small contribution we’re able to make big changes in people’s lives.”

For more information about Cambodia Vision and to make a donation visit

The Friendly Society Private Hospital, affectionately known as The Friendlies, has a proud 75-year tradition of providing quality health care to the Bundaberg and Wide Bay community.

PICTURE: Friendlies CEO Simone Finch with Dr David Merefield, surgical nurse Jane Malpass and Dr Robert Edwards, who are volunteers with Cambodia Vision.

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