There are an estimated 21 million people in Vietnam with uncorrected refractive error, three million of those, children.
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.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be here to witness the official opening of Vietnam’s first optometry school,” said Professor Holden. “This day marks a momentous and celebratory occasion in the development of eye health services for the people of Vietnam and a glimpse into the future for the country’s long term, sustainable vision care framework.”
A joint initiative between the Institute, the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine and the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital, the 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.
Ms Ly Huynh, Country Representative for the Institute, was delighted by the occasion. “This is an incredible moment for the future of eye care in Vietnam, and I look forward to the day the first cohort of optometry students graduate, and we start to witness the beginnings of growth for sustainable solutions for Vietnam’s eye care,” she said.
The 20 new optometry students will commence their program at the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine in November 2014.