Training school health workers in Vietnam

In Vietnam, schools may have a school health professional or a healthcare room where basic healthcare services, such as first aid and minor injury management, are offered. A school nurse or other qualified healthcare personnel often operate these healthcare facilities. Their tasks include attending to children’s health needs during school hours, delivering basic medical care, and educating children about health.

In fact, school health workers play an important role in promoting and maintaining children’s eye health in educational environments. Their engagement in school eye health often includes the following duties:

  • Vision Screening: School health workers frequently conduct vision examinations for students in order to detect potential problems with vision. This could include using eye charts or other methods for screening. Students who fail the basic screening may be referred for a comprehensive eye examination.
  • Referral: School health workers refer students who fail the vision screening to an Refractionists in Health District level for a comprehensive eye examination. This referral is an essential step in identifying and addressing vision issues.
  • Education: School health workers educate students, teachers, and parents about the importance of eye health and regular eye exams. They provide information on common eye conditions, eye safety, and the benefits of good eye care practices.
  • Collaboration: They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other school staff to ensure that students with vision problems receive support.
  • Record Keeping: School nurses maintain records of vision screenings and referrals, which can help track and monitor the eye health of students over time.
  • Prevention: They may also engage in preventive measures, such as promoting eye safety during sports and recreational activities, the use of protective eyewear, and reducing the risk of eye injuries.

Because they are the first to detect children’s eye health, it is critical that they have solid communication skills, academic presenting abilities, and eye health expertise in order to educate children. Since 1993, our ECF team in Vietnam has been educating school nurses in the Mekong Delta to serve millions of schoolchildren aged 7 to 15. We recently created a flipped book for primary school Behavior Change Communication training on Refractive Errors. We expect that via these trainings, school health workers would have learnt how to connect with primary school children, improve their knowledge of refractive errors defects, and, most importantly, how to use Flipped comic books – a communication tool for children with vivid pictures. We also provided them with tools like visual acuity charts and pinholes to use during school eye screenings.

It helps school health workers to identify and address refractive errors early, which can have a significant positive impact on children’s overall well-being and academic performance. By focusing on refractive errors, ECF’s efforts contribute to ensuring that children have access to the eye care they need, improving their quality of life and future opportunities.