In response to the “World Sight Day”, the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO), in coordination with the Vietnam Ophthalmology Association and other international organizations, such as Christoffel-Blindenmission (CBM) and Helen Keller International (HKI), have organized a wide range of activities, including providing free eye check-ups to 100 poor and disabled people.
At a meeting to mark the World Sight Day in Hanoi on October 13, Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Thi Xuyen expressed her hope that domestic and international organizations will join hands with the Government and the Ministry of Health to successfully implement the national blindness prevention program and fulfil the goals of ‘vision 2020: the Right to Sight’.
A representative from the World Health Organization said that 314 million people in the world are visually impaired or blind. Every five seconds, one person in the world goes blind and every minute a baby is born without sight. 90 percent of blind people live in poor and developing countries, one of which is Vietnam. He added that Vietnam should utilize available resources and support from international organizations to fulfil goals of eliminating trachoma by 2015 and significantly decreasing blindness by 2020.
Dr. Cung Hong Son, VNIO Deputy Director reported that Vietnam has 2 million blind people, one-third of whom are poor and cannot afford treatment to regain their sight. Refraction diseases are also common among teenagers. Nearly 3 million children aged 6 to 15 nationwide have refraction diseases, such as short-sighted, long-sighted and astigmatism.
*** Ba Ria-Vung Tau province held a meeting to mark World Sight Day on October 13 and received a project to provide eye care funded by the Australian International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE).
Accordingly, from now until the end of this year, ICEE will provide equipment to build three centres which will offer cheap eye check-up services and glasses to local people and help train refraction doctors, nurses and technicians. In addition, ICEE will help the province conduct a survey on refraction diseases among pupils.
On the same day, the provincial eye centre provided free eye check-ups, medicines and glasses to 350 elderly people and 250 pupils in Vung Tau City. It organized activities and games on refraction diseases to raise pupils’ awareness on eye protection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) chose the second Thursday of October as World Sight Day with the aim of raising global awareness on blindness prevention. This is the ninth year Vietnam has organized a wide range of activities in response to the event.