Important visitors from Vietnam
Recently we were very honoured to have a delegation of some important people from Vietnam visit our practice. The delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Health Strategy and Policy Institute in Vietnam. The purpose of the seven-member delegation visit to Melbourne was to better understand the scope of optometry practice over here and to study examples of integration of optometry into public clinics and hospitals – such as the Australian College of Optometry and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, which they also visited – as well as private health facilities like our practice.
Dr Suit May Ho, who has been a colleague and friend of mine for over 30 years, led the delegation. May is Director of Education and Development for the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation in Australia and she is the foundation’s representative in Vietnam. May was pivotal in establishing the first two optometry schools in Vietnam and before that trained eye health workers in Vietnam in refraction. As the result of May’s efforts, plus those of her colleagues at the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation and the partner universities in Vietnam, there are now over 60 graduate optometrists in Vietnam. Unfortunately, these graduates are yet to be recognized by the Ministry of Health and so are not able to work as optometrists within the health system. One of the major reasons for arranging this delegation’s visit to Melbourne was to demonstrate to them the scale of optometry practice in Australia with a view to having optometry registered as an independent profession and not under another jurisdiction of the medical profession.