Hi, I’m Ha Phuong. Some of you may know me from my career in eye health over the past 10 years or so during which I’ve worked for a number of IAPB members, here in Vietnam. Currently, I’m employed by LabSD and I wanted to take this opportunity – with reference to World Sight Day 2022 – to tell you a bit about how we got involved and why this day is important to us.
Despite of great efforts made by eye care givers throughout the world, over 1 billion are estimated living with unreasonable blindness and visual impairments which are much avoidable. This is mostly due to a shortage of human resources and health infrastructure. World Sight Day as an awareness raising activity has never been more important!
In a bid to join forces with all other organizations, institutions, and practitioners, Laboratory for Sustainable Development (LabSD, Inc.)* developed a platform namely EYELIKE** – a system by which people can be affordably and accessibly screened for fundus based blindness causing eye diseases, so that they can timely seek professional help and treatment. LabSD’s operations in various countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, and Morocco in order to detect those living with diabetic retinopathy, AMD, glaucoma, among others, and referred for proper treatment.
In Vietnam alone, the past three years’ record showed that over 12,000 people from remote areas were screened for easy diseases, of them a great deal managed to have their needed eye care services. This has been successfully carried out in collaboration with provincial eye health systems and NGO and Project BOM.
Along with our ongoing programs, and for the goal of having over 5 million eye tests as pledged by the 2022 World Sight Day, LabSD, Inc. sought collaborations with local partners so as to help develop comprehensive and affordable eye care interventions for the locals in Vietnam. Accordingly, a new project shall be kicked off in the 3rd quarter of this year in partnership with the Ba Ria – Vung Tau Provincial Eye Hospital. The project, to be started by screening of some 1,000 patients to welcome the 2022 World Sight Day, is designed to provide evidence-based opportunities to local eye health policy makers and practitioners to identify best approaches in their own contexts at affordable costs.
* LabSD (Laboratory for Sustainable Development) – legitimated as a social enterprise based in Seoul, Republic of Korea for the sustainability and scalability of Eyelike. Its mission is to promote international development and international health projects to eradicate poverty.
**The EYELIKETM platform, composed of complete hardware production and cloud-based software development, is expected to help eye health systems in developing countries ease the current burden for the lack of HR and appropriate technology. The platform won top five at the Vietnam 2022 StartWheel – the largest startup competition in Southeast Asia.