For Immediate Release
KON TUM, Vietnam -- More than 10,000 primary and secondary school students in Kon Tum Province have been screened for vision problems with more than 800 of them receiving eyeglasses under an eye care project just completed with support from the U.S. Government and implemented under the leadership of the Kon Tum provincial departments of Health and Education and Training.
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Helen Keller International, the pediatric eye health care project has also trained nearly 300 teachers and health workers from 100 primary and secondary schools on screening skills and equipped each school with a screening toolkit to enable the trained teachers to check their students for refractive errors at the beginning of a new school year.
"We are very happy with the results of this project and hope that the best practices adopted by Kon Tum Province will be considered by other provinces," said USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Francis Donovan.
Through screening and specialized check-up for those in need, 13 school children have been diagnosed with complicated eye diseases such as cataract, uveitis, posterior capsule pacification and ptosis and referred to Ho Chi Minh Eye Hospital for additional treatment and care.
"This project is very significant to Kon Tum province as it has not only helped students improve their vision but also improved the awareness of children, teachers and parents about eye health," said Dr. Nguyen Thi Ven, Director of Kon Tum Health Department.
The project not only improved the vision of school children, but also promoted stronger health systems by strengthening the capacity of provincial health personnel in pediatric ophthalmology and providing surgical equipment to Kon Tum General Hospital and Kon Tum Center for Social Disease Prevention and Control in order for them to provide follow-up and care to more complicated cases.
In addition to the eye care project, USAID has supported education in Kon Tum since 2008. It funded construction of a junior secondary school for ethnic minority children and refurbished 25 preschools and helped train more than 250 teachers on special skills to work effectively with ethnic minority and special needs students.
Last updated: October 15, 2014