Project Title: Make Children’s Vision Count – To Leave No Child Behind
This CBP project will enable The Eye Care Foundation to increase the access to and use of equitable and sustainable child eye care services throughout the most impoverished districts of the Mekong Delta.
The increased stakeholder engagement and participation will underpin advocacy efforts to encourage government and non-government stakeholders to adopt the WHO preferred Integrated People-centered Eye Care model to provide effective, reliable, affordable, and appropriate services deep into the most under-served communities in Vietnam.
The Eye Care Foundation (ECF) will conduct the grant activity, scheduled to begin in summer 2021. Within the 22-month period of this Fixed Amount Award, 320 school nurses, community workers, and school teachers will be trained in Primary Eye Care and mobile phone technology (PEEK Acuity) to provide vision and eye health screening of school children and teachers. This trained cohort will screen a total of 100,000 children, aged between 6 and 15 years, and 1,200 school teachers in 16 sub-districts of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Additionally, 20 ophthalmologists will be provided with pediatric ophthalmology training and skill support; and, 6 mid-level workers will receive training in refraction (3 people) and optical glazing (3 people). Three new vision centers, one in each of the three target districts, will be established and staffed by the newly-trained mid-level workers. Final year optometry students from the Medical University in Ho Chi Minh City will provide refraction and optometry support to screening activities and vision centers across the target districts and sub-districts. The vision centers will provide a critical link in the referral pathway for school students and their families who may have additional eye care needs while providing community experience for the optometry students to encourage a hands-on knowledge of public health optometry. The 3 vision centers will provide a means by which ongoing service provision will be available after the project period and will raise awareness in the poorest communities of two newly established district hospitals that enable accessible comprehensive eye health care without having to travel to Ho Chi Minh City.
Community activities including school ‘fairs’ (with competitions for the students) will be held in eight sub-districts to further increase awareness of child eye health, screening activities, the three new vision centers, and two new district hospitals with eye clinics that can enable a continuum of care for the target population. The combination of these activities and dedicated Information Education Communication materials and a Behavior Change Strategy is expected to reach the families of the school children, totaling a minimum of 300,000 people.