Vision for our children

Almost 3 million children in Vietnam are have a visual impairment. Around 1.7 million of those have an uncorrected refractive error, meaning a simple pair of glasses would restore their vision. With the majority of these children living in rural areas we focused our efforts on the provinces of Binh Dinh, Thua Thien – Hue, Can Tho and Ca Mau.

Why we concern

For the fact there are insufficient qualified pediatric ophthalmologists as well as child eye care services, Orbis Vietnam plans to fill in the gaps for better child eye health in the provinces of Binh Dinh, Thua Thien – Hue, Can Tho and Ca Mau. Following are key issues identified thereat:

  • The prevalence of blindness was among the highest;
  • There was a huge shortage of qualified pediatric eye-care professionals;
  • There were no pediatric eye care services or limited refraction services in these localities.

How we approach

Our comprehensive approach has been developed to optimize eye care coverages for children in those target provinces, which includes:

Human Resources for Eye Health:

  • Establish Pediatric Eye Care Centers at hospitals with child-friendly facilities and well-trained medical team;
  • Promote clinical capacity of hospitals’ staffs in detection and case management for Retinopathy of Prematurity.

Developing Sustainable Eye Care Services and Systems:

  • Carry out the Quality Assurance system to enhance the quality of eye care service provided by partner hospitals;
  • Support to develop a quality, sustainable and accessible refractive services with the establishment of Vision Centers for all children and community people, especially for those of vulnerable groups.

Creation of Eye Health Referral Networks:

  • Build a pediatric eye care network within the existing primary health care system to detect children with eye problems and refer for further treatments in these target provinces;
  • Foster the collaboration between stakeholders from Departments of Health and Education & Training for comprehensive and cost-effective eye care for children.

Hoa's One Wish

Demand Generation:

  • Improve knowledge and practices of children and care givers to effectively prevent and manage pediatric eye conditions;
  • Provide updated knowledge and practices needed for effective prevention and treatment of pediatric eye conditions and refractive errors for local populations.

What we have done

At national level:

  • Advocated and obtained policies relevant to child eye health (e.g referral guidelines approved and applied);
  • Supported the country’s two leading eye institutions – Vietnam Institute of Ophthalmology and Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital to strengthen their staffs’ capacity in child eye care, including surgeons and pediatric ophthalmologists.

An advocacy workshop

At regional level:

  • Established six Children’s Eye Centers at regional hospitals throughout the country;
  • Supported to train all staffs from the established Children’s Eye Centers.

At provincial and district level:

  • Established 18 Vision Centers which provide comprehensive refraction services;
  • Had hundreds of thousands of children screened to detect eye problems, referred for needed treatment, including surgeries;
  • Trained school teachers and commune health workers to be capable of conducting school vision screening.

What we will do

For sustainability of the model which is expected to be duplicated to other provinces of the country, so that local community people, especially children, could access and afford quality and comprehensive eye care services, Orbis Vietnam is planning to:

  • Seek more resources to further promote either human resources development of local eye care professionals and eye care service delivery;
  • Review the program for lessons learnt and evidence on which local practitioners, policy makers and Orbis could base for further developments;
  • Continue to monitor the ongoing and finished programs to ensure sustainable and effective interventions.