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07/11/2017 - 09:21

First Vietnamese honored as "Eye Health Hero"

Last September, Dr.Pham Minh Truong, director of Hue Eye Hospital was given the award of "Eye Health Hero" by the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in Nepal. After being honored by IAPB, Dr.Pham Minh Truong had a talk with the ThuaThien Hue newspaper:

Specialist II Doctor Pham Minh Truong examining a patient

Like other members in my family, I'm happy and proud of this noble award "Eye health Hero" presented by IAPB. My family and I received a lot of messages and phone calls from friends and colleagues who sent congratulations and shared the joy.

Can you tell us more about the meaning of this award?

This award is held annually by IAPB to recognize and honour individuals who have made great contributions and created the real differences in eyesight  restoration and prevention of blindness. On this occasion, there are 15 people in the world and me, the first Vietnamese ophthalmologist working in a public hospital to be given this award. This award  is not of great material value, but it means to make a lasting, significant impact in social life, and contribute significantly to the prevention of blindness in the world.

As you said, this award honours the great contributions and creates the difference in prevention of blindness. So can you share more about what you have done in the last time?

I am a doctor who have experienced several different leader positions in the department of ophthalmology in ThuaThien Hue province. After Hue Eye hospital was established in 2005, I was elected as the hospital director. I was aware of the difficulties the hospital encountered in the early days of establishment and a larger number of eye-diseased poor people not only in the local area but also in the Central region, so I was really concerned. Determined to act as my heart tells me, I researched and took advantage of supports from the central leaders and local leaders, managing to connect  domestic organizations with overseas ones for over 10 years.

With the assistance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like CBM (Germany), FHF (Australia) and Orbis (the United States), I focused on investing in modern facilities, medical equipment and human resources development in accordance with international standards for the hospital. Now, Hue Eye Hospital becomes one of the leading eye care units in the country. Annually, the hospital has more than 50,000 patient encounters including inpatient treatments and eye surgeries for around 5,000 patients. Among them, there are many complicated cases requiring advanced techniques such as vitreous peeling and posterior chamber surgery which previously received treatment only in Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi City. Moreover, Hue Eye Hospital built a friendly center for eye care, providing high-quality treatment services for eye diseases of children and old people.

Apart from that, I’ve built and developed an eye care network at the local level; built a communication network  of eye care and eye protection education, and an operation network through technical assistance, in collaboration with international organizations, providing specialized training for the medical staff of schools, communes, and districts; mobilized the support of the community to improve access to services for children and the elderly; building partnerships with neighboring provinces for patient referral.

Do you have any advice for young people of today who are interested in participating in ophthalmologic surgery?

Having more than 30 years of practice and research in the field of medicine, I realize that I still need to enhance my specialty knowledge. Every field requires study, and especially in medicine the more we study and have international exchanges, the more we understand our knowledge is infinite. Compared with our generation, the young people of today have many favorable conditions for study and research. The country is developing increasingly and integrating deeply.Young people have more opportunities to exchange, learn and exchange technology with many countries having advanced medicine. They have many opportunities to meet good teachers . The learning environment is better than before , including resources , reference books for research work.

In my opinion , in order to be successful , you must have a passion for your career, passion for creation, and hard working. Success does not come by itself, but success only comes to you when you work hard and seize the opportunities that occur around you.

Can you tell me about the work and plan you are cherishing?

What concerns me most and urges me to do is to continue restoring eyesight for the children and old people with difficult circumstances. Currently, I have coordinated the establishment of four high quality refractive centers in districts and townships, and I have coordinated with Association of the Elderly to take care of old people’s eyes. In the future, this activity continues to cover the area of ThuaThien Hue and the Central provinces for examination and treatment of eye disease for children and forms a network of eye care from the community to the hospital. In addition, we’ll continue to connect with domestic and foreign organizations to train the medical staff in Hue Eye Hospital professionally to meet international standards,  building Hue Eye Hospital into a well-reputed, well-developed hospital in Vietnam.

Thank you for your talk.

By Van Minh

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