Life Life

16/11/2017 - 14:15

The first Vietnamese doctor honoured as an Eye Health Hero

Specialist II Doctor Pham Minh Truong, Director of Hue Eye Hospital is the first doctor of Vietnam honoured as an "Eye Health Hero" by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in Kathmandu, Nepal in September. For nearly 30 years working in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Pham Minh Truong is very popular with his patients and colleagues.

In addition to his management work, Dr. Pham Minh Truong also examines and treats patients’ eyes.

Love for the community

Dr. Truong, whose hometown is Quang Tri province, graduated from Hue Medical University in 1988. He worked at the eye care clinic in the then Binh Tri Thien. In 1991, he continued studying to become a specialist I doctor  in Hanoi, then he was appointed successively as the head of the eye care clinic, Director of the Center for Prevention of Blindness, and Director of Provincial Center for Social Disease Prevention and Control. In 2005, when the Hue Eye Hospital was established, he was assigned to be the director of the hospital.

At that time, the newly-established hospital was poorly-equipped and short of staff, so the medical examination and treatment of eye diseases faced many difficulties. With his dynamism and acumen in working, he has not only performed his managing position well, but also directly examined and treated patients; taking the lead in blindness prevention campaign in the remote and mountainous areas.

As he went to many places, he witnessed many tragic circumstances, especially the elderly and children in districts of A Luoi and Nam Dong, suffering from eye diseases such as cataract, conjunctivitis, congenital glaucoma, strabismus, etc., living in the dark and poor conditions. He conducted investigation himself to collect the rate of the elderly and children with eye diseases. At the same time, he established "external relations" to connect and call on organizations and charities to launch campaigns to bring light to the blind in the remote areas, helping them see their dear ones and integrate with the community. He has repeatedly put forward the proposal for building eye care networks at the local level, providing eye examination and eye care services to the community; however, due to limited resources, the proposal has not been pushed through.

Efforts for patients

In 2006, via his friends, he contacted non-governmental organizations, such as CBM (Germany), Fred Hollows Foundation (Australia) and Orbis (USA). These organizations have become his companions for more than a decade. They not only support Hue Eye Hospital with facilities and medical equipment, but also focus on training to improve the quality of human resources.

Through his proposals, annually FHF and Orbis support from 2 to 4 medical workers of Hue Eye Hospital to improve their expertise abroad to master modern technologies for treating complicated eye diseases, which the patients would have gone to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city for treatment. In the period of 2010-2013, Orbis supported the establishment of a professional and friendly pediatric eye center of Hue Eye Hospital. This center provides eye examination and treatment for children in the Central region. Up to now, on average every year, the center has promoted both communication on eye care, and free medical examination and treatment for 200-250 children suffering from complicated eye diseases in the region such as ptosis, strabismus, cataract, etc. At the same time, he coordinated with FHF to enhance eye care services for the community, especially for the elderly. On average every year, Hue Eye Hospital has performed free cataract surgery for 2,000-2,200 cases.

What is more, Dr. Truong has successfully built eye care services for children at the hospital, opening an interconnected eye care network connecting to the community in the area. His wish also becomes reality when the refractive centers of districts and towns are established, bringing eye care services closer to the community, helping people get regular eye examinations and timely treatment. He becomes a senior adviser to other provinces so as to improve child eye care in Vietnam.

Dr. Truong was honored as an “Excellent Medical Doctor” by the Government in 2008. Many colleagues regard him as a dedicated and talented leader, who organizes a staff of solidarity to well accomplish their tasks. At present, Hue Eye Hospital has become one of the three reputable eye care units in the country. As a public hospital, this is also the first unit in Thua Thien Hue to build a self-reliant model.

"Eye Health Hero" is an annual award of IAPB, which recognizes and honors individuals making contributions to ophthalmology, making real differences in restoring vision to the community. Specialist II doctor Pham Minh Truong is the first doctor in Vietnam to receive this award.

Story and photo: Minh Van