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Vision Excellence Awards: Mundi Qoqonokana

Dr Mundi Qoqonokana

Dr Mundi Qoqonokana works at the Pacific Eye Institute (PEI) as Acting Chief Consultant Ophthalmologist.

Originally from Solomon Islands, Dr Mundi has worked for years delivering high-quality eye care to patients and supporting the training of new specialists across the Pacific region. Dr Mundi is passionate about blindness prevention and believes that training a regional eye care workforce is crucial in tackling preventable blindness in the Pacific.

Some of Dr Mundi’s key achievements include:

  1. leading the PEI Outreach team for over seven years to provide much-needed ophthalmic services to Pacific countries;
  2. leading the Mobile Eye Clinic team to provide eye care services to rural Fiji;
  3. assisting in delivering ophthalmic training to nurses and doctors from throughout the Pacific;
  4. becoming the second-ever qualified ophthalmologist from Solomon Islands;
  5. contributing significantly to the development of eye care services in Solomon Islands in his role as Head of Department (Ophthalmology) of the Regional Eye Centre (REC) in Honiara;
  6. creating the first eye research role at REC, resulting in the development of Solomon Island’s Trachoma initiative – the first ever in the Pacific – including the inaugural Trachoma Action Plan for Solomon Islands;
  7. in competition with four other disciplines, convincing the CEO of the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara and the Permanent Secretary of Solomon Islands’ MOH to approve the allocation of land within the grounds of the NRH, on which the REC is now located;
  8. becoming an international associate member of RANZCO;
  9. being a past member of the executive of the PacEYES;
  10. co-chairing the IAPB Western Pacific region from 2013-2015 where he:
    a. worked alongside the IAPB Pacific Secretariat advocating for the World Health Organization (WHO) Universal eye health: A global action plan 2014–2019 across the Pacific region, resulting in the successful adoption of the action plan by the Western Pacific Region WHO Office (WHO Manila) where all Pacific Health Ministers voted ‘Yes’;
    b. represented the IABP Western Pacific at global conferences as the Pacific voice. In the IAPB General Assembly (GA) in 2016, he was the only Pacific representative chosen to present at the main forum.

Dr Mundi is renowned for his dedication to ending avoidable blindness in the Pacific. At times, working in developing Pacific countries, Dr Mundi had to improvise and be innovative to restore sight. When patient access to services was an issue, Dr Mundi found unorthodox solutions such as screening house-to-house for surgical cases and using whatever surgical equipment was available to ensure patients did not miss out on sight-restoring surgeries.

As Professor Fred Hollows said – “Good eye service is the right of everybody, not just the wealthy who can afford it” – and this is certainly something that Dr Mundi has demonstrated throughout his entire career as an ophthalmologist. With Dr Mundi in a key leadership role in the Pacific, we know that while these achievements are significant, there is still much more that Dr Mundi will achieve for the needlessly blind.