Friday, April 13th, 2012
A country with one of the highest rates of childhood blindness in the world now has a brighter future ahead of it thanks to a group of South Australian ophthalmologists and the support of Santos.

With 45 million people blind worldwide, nearly half reside in Asia-Pacific countries, including Vietnam. Cataract blindness is the biggest culprit, but the impact of childhood blindness is nearly as great.

Thankfully, The Sight For All Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting avoidable blindness, is doing something about it.

The Foundation recently commenced an in-country fellowship program in paediatric ophthalmology at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology in Hanoi. The program has been funded by Santos.

Over the next 12 months, 12 surgeons from around Australia will each spend one week in Vietnam to train three local ophthalmologists in paediatric eye surgery and enable them to become leaders in the fight against childhood blindness in Vietnam.

“The long term socio-economic burden caused by childhood blindness is crippling for many Asia-Pacific countries,” SFA founder and ophthalmologist James Muecke said.

“We’re extremely grateful to the team at Santos for supporting our fellowship program in Vietnam. Giving just three surgeons the expertise to treat thousands of children every year and pass on their expertise to colleagues has the power to effect lasting change right across the country and set an example for the region.”

The next Australian surgeon to participate in the program is Adelaide ophthalmologist Dr Michael Hammerton. This April, Dr Hammerton will attend an official donation ceremony at the Institute in Hanoi together with the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Santos executives and the Vietnamese Minister for Health.

Sight For All’s eye health programs are making an impact across the Asia-Pacific. In 2010, the Foundation trained a Vietnamese ophthalmologist Dr Quan Nguyen, who completed a 12-month fellowship in vitreo-retinal surgery at the South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology. He returned to Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital as a leader in his field and to pass his new skills and knowledge to his colleagues in Vietnam. He is one of over 20 Asian fellows trained in South Australia by Sight For All.

The Foundation has also initiated training, education, research and infrastructure programs in Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

Funding provided by Santos for the in-country program in Vietnam includes all training, travel and equipment costs totalling $120,000.

Contact Profile

Sight For All

Sight For All (SFA) has a shared vision to help Asia-Pacific countries restore sight to their blind.

Anna Kenneally
phone: (08) 8267 6888
email: [email protected]

Anna Kenneally
P: (08) 8267 6888


blindness,cataracts, Santos



More Formats

View QR Code