U.S.: Supported Eye Care Project for Kon Tum School Children

10:19:46 AM | 27/12/2011

 Over 8,800 primary and secondary students will be screened for vision with those in need receiving eyeglasses under a new U.S.-supported project launched on December 19, 2011 in Kon Tum, with the 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 will expand school-based eye care activities from 10 to 20 schools in Kon Tum city and three surrounding districts through July 2012.
 “USAID is pleased to build on our previous activities in Kon Tum,” said acting USAID Vietnam Mission Director Michael Foster. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the provincial authorities to improve the quality of life for children.”
 In addition to improving the vision of school children, the project will also train provincial health personnel in pediatric ophthalmology in order to provide follow-up and care to more complicated cases. 
 An estimated one in five Vietnamese children suffers from refractive error, but the vast majority remains undiagnosed and untreated. Left untreated, refractive errors can worsen and may lead to blindness and irreversible vision loss, particularly in young children. 
 The project will address gaps in the current pediatric eye health system in Kon Tum province and develop a comprehensive and sustainable system of care for children that can be adopted by the departments of Health and Education and Training and replicated throughout Vietnam.
 Since 2008, in Kon Tum USAID has funded construction of a junior secondary school for ethnic minority children and refurbished 25 preschools that help give students a head start in school. The U.S. Government has also carried out programs to create employment for disadvantaged minorities in the province.