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Baby born with help of John Key

An eye specialists' outreach tour to a remote area of the Solomon Islands, funded by the auction of John Key's broken arm cast, took an unexpected turn when they were asked to perform an emergency caesarean.

Five hundred outpatients were seen with more than 100 having sight restored during the two week tour by the team from the Fred Hollows Foundation.

But soon after in arriving in Buala in the remote Ysabel province, the doctors were asked to do an emergency caesarean on 21-year-old Stella Pitu.

They quickly swung into action and Ms Putu's son was born alive and well.

Of those to receive eye surgery the youngest was a five-year-old who had cataracts in both eyes and the oldest a 93-year-old grandfather who had been blind in both eyes for three years.

Mr Key broke his arm when he fell while exiting a stage at a Chinese New Year celebration in Auckland in January.

He was persuaded to auction the cast for charity, with Wellington businessman Ganesh Cherian paying $18,500 the money going to to the Fred Hollows Foundation.

The proceeds from the cast auction is expected to fund a second surgical outreach to another remote island in the Solomons in June.

- NZPA

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