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Haiti - Health : Soon a training in optometry in Haiti
25/07/2017 10:40:14

Haiti - Health : Soon a training in optometry in Haiti
A Memorandum of Agreement has been signed to establish the first ever School of Optometry in Haiti. The School is a collaboration between l’Universite d’Etat d’Haiti (UEH), Brien Holden Vision Institute, Optometry Giving Sight, VOSH International and Charity Vision with support from University of Montreal. The signatories hope that the first students will commence their studies in October.

"This is a great moment in the development of eye health in Haiti," said Dr. Jean Claude Cadet, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy at UEH, which is the lead local implementing partner for the project. "We are grateful to our international partners for helping us to realize our vision of establishing Optometry as a profession in Haiti in order to improve access to primary eye care for the millions of people in need."

There are currently only 3 optometrists and 58 ophthalmologists (6 in the public sector) to serve Haiti's population of 10 million people. These are predominantly located in the capital, making it difficult for the majority (70%) of people to access primary eye care services.

"This project will seek to graduate 16 optometrists per year, in what will be a 5-year Bachelor of Vision Science degree," said Dr. Luigi Bilotto, Director Global Human Resource Development, Brien Holden Vision Institute, which is the lead international implementing partner for the project.

The development of a locally trained workforce will have a huge impact on the well-being of people in Haiti, according to Dr. Ellen Weiss, President of VOSH International.

"VOSH chapters have been undertaking voluntary mission trips to Haiti for many years," said Dr. Weiss. "We have seen tens of thousands of people and made a real difference in many people’s lives, but we think that the School of Optometry will help to provide a lasting solution and enable our teams to refocus their efforts on providing additional training and mentoring to the students once they graduate."

HL/ HaitiLibre

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