Education and training courses involving the Institute began in Vietnam during 2005 and have developed greatly since that time. In 2008, the Institute started an initiative to collaborate with the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology to conduct refraction courses for local and provincial eye care personnel. This innovative project, receiving support from the Australian Government’s Avoidable Blindness Intiative from 2010, had long term aims to lay the basis for the development of optometry profession in Vietnam.
The Institute is working with in-country partners to further establish courses and optometry curriculum. This includes scholarships for Vietnamese students to study optometry in regional schools. Regular courses are being conducted involving trainers trained and supported by the Institute at the following locations:
- Refraction Training Course at Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology, Hanoi (Northern Vietnam)
- Refraction Training and Spectacle Training Courses at the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City (Southern Vietnam)
The Institute has entered into an agreement with the Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University and the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital, to establish the first ever optometry program in Vietnam, based at the Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University in Ho Chi Minh City. This project is funded by the Australian Government's East Asia Vision Program (sucessor to the Avoidable Blindness Initiative) and Optometry Giving Sight.
In addition to providing technical training in the provision of refractive error services, the Institute has also taken the lead in providing vision centre operation training to provincial eye care workers and other non-government organisations as part of the Vietnam Australia Vision Support Program (VAVSP). This training focuses on setting up appropriate management systems to run the vision centres as sustainable facilities.
The Institute has established several vision centres in Vietnam over the last few years to increase local access to eye care. The first opened in February 2010 in the District 7 Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City and three more vision centres opened in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in March 2012, in the locations of Xuyen Moc, Dat Do and Ba Ria. These four vision centres are a progressive step forward in the Institute’s service development for Vietnam.
The Institute regularly conducts research to provide an evidence base for our program work. We recently conducted a Refractive Error Study on children in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in late 2011. The study was a first in Vietnam and has provided valuable data to assist in future program design and implementation. Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) studies are also being carried out in Vietnam to help inform future eye health promotion activities the Institute is planning to roll out over time.
Number of eye screenings: 68,691
Number of glasses dispensed: 10,593
Number of trained in refraction or upskilled: 1039
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
Population: 92,477,857 (July 2013 est.)
Area: 331,210 sq km
Geography: South Eastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, as well as China, Laos, and Cambodia
Industries include: food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, mobile phones. Approximately 48% of the workforce are involved in agriculture, with about 21% involved in industry and 31% in services, public and private
Communication: Upgrades have digitalised provincial exchanges and connected then to the main cities. Mobile phones are widely used and paved roads are the majority across the country
*Based on information from www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook