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The Advocate

Dr Giap is a human dynamo who has shone light into thousands of lives in the Vietnamese southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau (BRVT) over the last 20 years. He an ophthalmologist and the director of the BRVT Provincial Eye Hospital, which acts as the eye care hub of the province.

He is a community minded family man who cares deeply about the high rates of uncorrected vision impairment and avoidable blindness in Vietnam, where about 21 million people in Vietnam have refractive errors. He has been a pivotal force in the development of an eye care system for the people of BRVT.

According to a 2003 survey, about 71% of people with refractive error have no correction, and a large percentage of people who do have correction wear incorrect spectacles (31%). About 2.5 million children need glasses but affordable spectacles are still out of reach of the urban poor and those living in rural and remote areas of the country.

“During 2010, in partnership with Brien Holden Vision Institute we started an eye care project in the province under the Vietnam Australia Vision Support Program (VAVSP) funded by AusAID. One of the great interventions of the project was the establishment of three vision centres,” said Dr Giap. 

“The three centres have managed to provide a quality and affordable eye care service treating all common eye disease, and also our referral system has improved greatly. Besides that the project has also helped to strengthen eye care systems in terms of human resource development which is an enormous benefit to our communities,” he said.

“Due to the support from the VAVSP project, we have trained a qualified team composed of spectacle technicians, refractionists and vision centre management staff who not only work inside the vision centres but provide outreach school and community clinics in the districts where needed most, “he concluded.