Optometry development in Vietnam
Many developing countries do not have optometry as an established or recognised profession so schools of optometry offering education at diploma or degree level often do not exist.Our strategy to address this global need includes the development and support of optometry schools globally. We work together with tertiary institutions and ministries of health and education to develop and establish the profession of optometry in these countries. Our support includes advice on curriculum, working to enhance infrastructure and providing educational resources. We also facilitate ongoing funding and provide assistance in recruiting and developing new faculty, often having been integral in the training of the eye care professionals recruited as the primary educators for the course.
This was the situation in Vietnam but progress has been made through the Institute's extensive collaborations and advocacy over the last seven years of working in Vietnam, since 2008. Below are a series of articles which together describe the progression of optometry development to date.
Evolving eye health expertise in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 29 January 2016: "To describe the students as inspiring is an understatement. We felt so proud that these enthusiastic young people are joining our profession as colleagues. They are not only “joining” it, but they will literally be helping to build the profession of optometry from scratch in Vietnam. This is an awesome story of achievement. In 2014 there were just three optometrists for a population of 90 million; now there are nine – including some who have returned to teach in their country of birth. In a few years there will be over 100 and on it will go," said Dr Tony Hanks, optometrist and owner of Hanks Optometrists in NSW, Australia. Read more...
Eye care for Vietnam – one year at a time
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 15 October 2015: One year ago, September 2014 heralded a historic moment for Vietnam’s education and eye health sectors with the opening of Vietnam’s first optometry program at the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City. Fast forward to today, and 16 student optometrists have been joined by 30 more – totaling 46 future optometrists for Vietnam in the making.
The optometry program is the culmination of a ten year plan to introduce optometry to the country, with the primary goal of alleviating the burden of uncorrected refractive error in Vietnam in line with the Vietnamese National Eye Health Plan. It is a joint initiative between Brien Holden Vision Institute, the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine (UPNT) and the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital. A celebratory event launched the start of the optometry course for the new influx of first year students, and a welcome back for returning students. Read more...
Fledgling optometry in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 7 April 2015: "Optometry is a brand new profession in Vietnam. The inaugural course commenced in Ho Chi Minh City in 2014 with the support of Optometry Giving Sight and federal government aid, and a second course is scheduled to commence in Hanoi later this year. It is interesting and often concerning to witness the outcomes for patients where optometry isn’t available," said Kate Gifford, optometrist and recent traveller to Vietnam. A joint initiative between Brien Holden Vision Institute, the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine and the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital, the optometry school’s opening was the culmination of a ten year plan to introduce optometry to the country, with the primary goal of alleviating the burden of uncorrected refractive error in Vietnam in line with the Vietnamese National Eye Health Plan. Read more...
Academy launches in Asia-Pacific
Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam, 31 October 2014: The picturesque city of Buon Ma Thuot in Vietnam’s central highlands provided the backdrop for the Asia-Pacific launch of the Brien Holden Vision Institute Academy.The launch, held at the Vietnamese National Institute of Ophthalmology’s annual conference which was attended by 1,500 of the country’s ophthalmologists, acknowledged a new phase of the Institute’s education and human resource development programs for the Asia-Pacific region.
“The launch of Academy is immensely meaningful for this region of the world, particularly in light of the new optometry program just initiated in Vietnam,” said Dr Luigi Bilotto, Director of Global Human Resource Development for the Institute. “The whole concept of Academy supports the implementation of sustainable educational programs by creating and providing foundations for the capacity building activities. It also offers invaluable, life-long learning opportunities to the eye health workforce in the Asia Pacific region, and signals a progressive new era for professional development in the field of optometry,” he added. Read more...
A new era for optometry in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 29 October 2014: October 2014 heralded a historic moment in the growth of Vietnam’s education and eye health sectors with the official opening of Vietnam’s first optometry program at the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City. Professor Brien Holden, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute, opened proceedings at the ceremony which was also attended by Mr John McAnulty, the Australian Consul General – Ho Chi Minh City, Associate Professor Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung, Rector at the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine and Associate Professor Tran Anh Tuan, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital. Read more...
One new reason inspires change
Hanoi, Vietnam, 18 June 2014: Minh Anh is one of only three qualified optometrists in Vietnam; a country with a population of more than 93 million people. Optometry, like many aspects of Vietnam’s emerging identity, is a new profession.
“Optometry is a developing profession with great potential to create change and is currently gaining recognition throughout the developing world. In Vietnam, I believe optometry is pivotal to improving the eye health of my people,” Minh Anh said.
“Like many other evolving countries, the increasing population in Vietnam has led to an increased need for health services. Our ophthalmologists are burdened with all the eye care work from refraction to surgery. Building the optometry profession in Vietnam will help greatly by providing trained people to do the clinical and diagnostic eye care work to the service the need,” she said. Read more...
Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology, Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provincial People's Committee, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provincial Eye Centre, Fred Hollows Foundation, CBM, Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University and Hanoi Medical University.
East Asia Vision Program - Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade