In Vietnam, only 10 ophthalmologists are available for every 1 million Vietnamese, with most practicing in large cities.
|Nguyen Thi Thang, 82, can
manage household tasks
following cataract surgery.
In rural areas, health workers are usually nurses, who have minimal instruction in eye care and possess scant resources for blindness prevention and treatment. It is in these areas that the majority of Vietnam’s half million blind people reside.
Vietnam can be alleviated, though. ORBIS’s work in
Vietnam concentrates on:
- Increasing access to comprehensive eye care among rural communities
- Building the capacity of national institutions to take the lead in blindness prevention services and the provision of ophthalmic training
- Pediatric ophthalmology, especially the diagnosis and treatment of retinopathy of prematurity
- Corneal disease, eye banking and corneal donation
- Cataract services
ORBIS conducted its first hospital-based program in Vietnam in 1997 and opened a permanent office in
Vietnam in 2003. Our first Flying Eye Hospital program took place in October 2006.
During 2008, through 13 projects:
|ORBIS volunteer faculty member
Dr. August Reader examines a patient at
Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital.
- Nearly 7,000 doctors and other eye care staff received training
- More than 900,000 people received eye examinations
- Over 96,000 children and adults received non-surgical ophthalmic medical treatment
- More than 26,000 eye surgeries were performed
ORBIS "firsts" in Vietnam
ORBIS has achieved numerous “firsts” regarding eye care in
- ORBIS built the capacity of its local partners in
Vietnam to prevent, detect and treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), an avoidable disorder caused when premature infants are incubated without proper monitoring of oxygen levels. This was the first project of its kind anywhere in the country.
- By setting up the first pediatric eye care networks of skilled health personnel across the three provinces of Vietnam, ORBIS has been actively strengthening Vietnam's capacity to address childhood blindness on a national scale.
- ORBIS designed a model rural eye care project in Phu Tho Province, Vietnam, through which eye care providers are trained to screen, diagnose and treat cataract and other blinding conditions. The first of its kind, no such training or services had previously been available outside of
Vietnam’s major cities.
- ORBIS helped establish
Vietnam’s first national eye bank.
- ORBIS funded the first wet lab in
Vietnam, located in the Vietnamese National Institute of Ophthalmology in
Hanoi, where ophthalmologists can practice surgical procedures on animal eyes before operating on humans.
- ORBIS initiated the development of the first working group in
Vietnam on VISION 2020 — a global effort to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. This national committee, consisting of NGOs and INGOs working on eye health as well as the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, provincial representatives and key ORBIS partners, will develop a national plan of action to achieve VISION 2020 goals and objectives throughout Vietnam.
ORBIS partners in
Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology, Hanoi • Ministry of Health • Provincial Health Departments • Ministry of Education and Training • Ministry of Labor, Invalid and Social Affares •
Hospital • Phu Tho Center for Prevention and Control of Social Diseases •
Ho Chi Minh City
Hospital • Ha
Vietnam Commission for Population, Family and Children • Can Tho
Hospital • Nghe An
Center • Nghe An
Hospital • Ho Chi Minh
Vietnam Red Cross Society • Ha Tinh Eye Station/Center • Ha
*Blindness is defined as visual acuity of less than 3/60 or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 10 degrees in the better eye with best possible correction.
** Low vision is defined as visual acuity of less than 6/18 but equal to or better than 3/60, or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 20 degrees in the better eye with best possible correction.