Full-scale treatment of cataracts in Vietnam [2008/05/21]
An examination following cataract treatment
The Nippon Foundation has for a long time supported the disabled in Vietnam, with such initiatives as the distribution of artificial limbs and provision of advanced education for deaf and blind students. Recently, it launched a new project to promote the prevention and treatment of cataracts, in an effort to dramatically reduce the numbers who lose their vision. The project is being carried out in seven Vietnamese provinces, with the cooperation of Helen Keller International (HKI) and Japan's Juntendo University.
In March, a stakeholders' conference was held at Hanoi National Institute of Ophthalmology, where representatives of Juntendo University, HKI, and The Nippon Foundation met to discuss the training to be conducted this coming July. Stakeholders' roles were decided upon, and the schedule was confirmed, moving the project from the planning to the operational stage. (Photo: Stakeholders' conference at Hanoi National Institute of Ophthalmology)
The goal is to train 15 ophthalmologists and 415 local medical workers and treat 1,500 cataract patients over the three years from 2008 to 2010. Training will be flexible and will range from the technical skills involved in cataract surgery to basic public health training. The course is expected to advance the skills of medical workers and significantly reduce the number of people who lose their sight to cataracts. (Photo: A cataract operation)
National statistics issued in 2002 show that some 523,000 Vietnamese suffer from blindness. Around 71% of these cases are attributable to cataracts. While the Vietnamese government has provided treatment in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the nationwide medical system remains relatively undeveloped, and the skills of rural nurses and medical workers are inadequate. Many treatable patients go un treated and are forced to live lives of hardship.
Many patients also have no understanding of cataracts and accept the loss of sight as a natural result of aging. Experts point out that this problem is largely attributable to the lack of knowledge among medical workers. The Nippon Foundation intends to improve the overall public health system in Vietnam by providing appropriate training for medical workers in the provinces, districts, and villages. (Photo: Cataract patients waiting to see a doctor)