HIGHLIGHTS

  • He became expert in the treatment of cataracts and eye infections that were prevalent in the area.
  • Ten years later, Dr. HOLLAND extended his work, during the two winter months, to Shikarpur in North Sind, starting an eye clinic that today is one of the largest in the world.
  • Father and son have made significant contributions to medical science. Operating under severe handicaps, the HOLLANDS over the years have achieved a 97 per cent success with their eye surgery.
  • The RMAF board of trustees recognizes “the selfless dedication of their renowned surgical skills to combat the blight of blindness in a remote hinterland. In a Christian ministry of healing, they and their colleagues over the past 59 years have restored sight to more than 150,000 nomads and plainsmen and otherwise relieved the suffering of thousands more to whom no other help was available. Giving succor not only through medicine and surgery but through understanding, human touch, they have cared for all people as individuals and believed in their dignity and importance.”

 CITATION

In 1900, Dr. HENRY HOLLAND joined the Anglican medical mission at Quetta, now in West Pakistan. He came to a small, pioneer hospital in a bleak land of rugged mountains and parched plains, where seasonal extremes of intense heat and bitter cold compelled the tribesmen to live a pastoral, nomadic existence.

Among the tribesmen were brigands and Muslim fanatics whose lives were given to blood feuds, but the young medical graduate saw the courage and pathos of these independent people and prepared himself to help them. He learned three of their
languages and mastered simple conversation in four other tongues. At the same time, he became expert in the treatment of cataracts and eye infections that were prevalent in the
area. As the hospital’s and the doctor’s reputations spread, a motley “invasion” of patients began each spring and autumn when the nomads moved to and from their pastures.

Swarthy Baluchi, wandering Brahui and tall, marauding Pathans waited their turn with Sindhis and Punjabis who had come up from the plains. Treatment was free for the poor. A pittance was charged those who could afford to pay a little, and even for the well-to-do
the cost was nominal.

Ten years later, Dr. HOLLAND extended his work, during the two winter months, to Shikarpur in North Sind, starting an eye clinic that today is one of the largest in the world. In slack periods, he made grueling journeys to encampments of tribesmen to patch up wounds and sometimes perform delicate eye operations. Quetta, meanwhile, was growing under his stewardship into a well-established medical and surgical center with a training school for nurses. For the HOLLANDS, medical service has since become a family tradition. Both sons became doctors and joined their father. Harry now is continuing mission work in England among lay Christians going abroad. RONALD has taken over as ophthalmic surgeon of the three. Like his mother, Ronald’s wife is a nurse, serving as an expert anesthetist and keeping hospital accounts though confined by paralytic polio to a wheelchair.

Dr. RONALD HOLLAND has followed his father’s example in learning the languages of the area. Operating from early morning until nightfall during the busy seasons at Quetta and Shikarpur, he also remembers the distant tribes. Across the Baluchistan wastelands he travels by land rover or jeep where his father moved on horseback or by camel to bring relief to penniless nomads. Father and son have made significant contributions to medical science. Operating under severe handicaps, the HOLLANDS over the years have achieved a 97 per cent success with their eye surgery. Their methods for mass operative treatment under field conditions are now widely studied abroad, and eye specialists from around the world have come to work and learn at Shikarpur.

The son, like the father, has not been tempted from his chosen work in Pakistan by attractive professional offers elsewhere. Imbued with a sure sense of vocation, the HOLLANDS welcome to their hospitals all who come regardless of faith, and the love that inspires their sense of public service goes out to everyone.

In electing SIR HENRY and RONALD HOLLAND to share the 1960 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, the Board of Trustees recognizes the selfless dedication of their renowned surgical skills to combat the blight of blindness in a remote hinterland. In a Christian ministry of healing, they and their colleagues over the past 59 years have restored sight to more than 150,000 nomads and plainsmen and otherwise relieved the suffering of thousands more to whom no other help was available. Giving succor not only through medicine and surgery but through understanding, human touch, they have cared for all people as individuals and believed in their dignity and importance.

 RESPONSE

It is quite unnecessary for me to tell you how extremely delighted and surprised I was when I heard that the award had been given to my son and to me.

Things are very different from what they were, and now I can look forward to my son being able with this magnificent gift to carry on the work which began some 60 years ago. It is delightful to know that, when our surgical team goes each year to our hospital at Shikarpur, it will ease our difficulty as regards the purchase of equipment from America for the ophthalmic side of our work, which has entailed the treatment and cure of over 200,000 poor villagers in Pakistan.

Naturally, I should like to thank the Board of Trustees and the Rockefeller Brothers for the very generous grant towards our work, which upholds the aims and ideals of the late President Magsaysay, who himself always had at heart the welfare of the ordinary rural villager.

The credit for the work is not ours, but belongs to our Saviour and Great Physician, Jesus Christ, in whose Name we work, and whose ambassadors we are.

 BIOGRAPHY

HENRY HOLLAND was born on February 12, 1875 at Durham, England, in the home of his Grandfather Tristram, residentiary Canon of Durham. On the paternal side of his family there were also close ties with the Church of England, his father being a parish priest and his father before him Vicar of Walmer Beach and chaplain to the Duke of Wellington. An aunt, Katie Tristram, who went to Japan as an educational missionary, was the first family link with the mission field.

The dominant influence of his life was his energetic mother, whom he remembers as always on the lookout for a way to help others. It was genial and hospitable Canon Tristram’s zest for life, interest

in people and moral courage that also set for the boy a pattern of character to follow. He took example, too, from his father’s visits and kindness as a parish priest to every family in the community, whether Churchmen or not.

(For the complete biography, please email biographies@rmaf.org.ph)