LAOS - 22 ophthalmic nurses are ready for delivering eye care services in hospitals and in remote parts of the countryLuxembourg and The Fred Hollows Foundation support capacity building for hospitals and rural eye care in Lao PDR
On 25 December 2019, twenty-two specialised ophthalmology nurses completed their training course at a graduation ceremony held at the National Eye Centre (NOC) hospital in Vientiane Capital.
Assoc. Prof Dr. Boauthep PHOUMMINDR (Deputy Director of Health Care Department at the Ministry of Health) and Dr. Siphetthavong SISALEUMSAK (Deputy Director of National of ophthalmology Center), presided the ceremony, joined by representatives from the Lao-Luxembourg Health Sector Support Programme LAO/027, which provided six-month scholarships to six of the graduates, under a collaboration agreement with The Fred Hollows Foundation in Lao PDR.
Scholarship recipients with Ms Sommay Sibounheuang, LAO/027 Scholarship Officer. ©LuxDev
The Fred Hollows Foundation (https://www.hollows.org) is an independent, not-for-profit international development organisation working towards the elimination of avoidable blindness. Founded in Australia in 1992, The Foundation helps to create sustainable eye care systems in more than 25 countries, including Lao PDR.
The Fred Hollows Foundation has a long-standing collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the National Ophthalmology Center, acquiring expertise in identifying national and provincial needs for eye care development, curriculum development and student selection, technical standards and supervision of eye care service delivery.
Eye examination in the provincial hospital in Bolikhamxay, newly renovated by LAO/027, ©LuxDev
The LAO/027 Programme and the Fred Hollows Foundation entered into a synergic collaboration agreement (September 2018 – December 2020), to provide complementary support for the capacity development and training of ophthalmology staff in the provinces of Bolikhamxay, Khammouane and Vientiane Province.
This partnership aims to support the national health authorities in organising 18 six-month ophthalmology specialist nurse courses, eight one-year “Basic Eye Doctor Courses (BED)” for newly graduated medical doctors, and 10 three-year Ophthalmology Specialists Residencies in Lao PDR and Thailand.
Along with the trainings, LAO/027 is also supporting the upgrade of eye care out-patient and surgery facilities in the provincial hospitals. The newly trained eye health staff will provide eye care through community outreach activities, such as cataract surgery.
While infectious eye diseases such as trachoma were virtually eliminated in Lao PDR over the last decades, the country still struggles to provide adequate care for aging-related eye diseases such as cataract and glaucoma. More prevalent in rural areas, these diseases cause poor vision and blindness, resulting in exclusion and a lower quality of life for the elderly. It is estimated that nationwide, only one third of serious cataract cases are being treated, and often still by sub-standard procedures.
The ophthalmic nurses graduation session, © LuxDev
The students graduated on Luxembourg Development Cooperation scholarships will be posted at provincial and district hospitals for delivering eye care services in hospitals and in remote parts of the country. They will also be educating communities about avoidable blindness, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and provincial health departments.↑ To the top