The Foundation's work to help eliminate poverty has been honoured with a special award in Vietnam.

Vietnam Country Manager Dr Huynh Tan Phuc accepted a Certificate of Merit at a ceremony in Hanoi recently, acknowledging the contribution of The Foundation's eye health programs to economic development in Vietnam.

The award was presented by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations, the government body overseeing international development agencies.

"The Foundation has a magnificent record of achievement in Vietnam," says The Foundation's CEO Brian Doolan.

"Since Professor Fred Hollows first visited Vietnam in 1992, the number of cataract operations performed there has increased from below 1,000 to 160,000 per year.

"Of course none of this would be possible without the hard work of The Foundation's Vietnam team, lead by Country Manager Dr Huynh Tan Phuc."

There are more than 700 international non-government organisations working in Vietnam and 109 received awards for delivering results that have helped the economy. At the certificate presentation, the union's Chairman Vu Xuan Hong thanked recipients for their spirit of international friendship and cooperation.

The positive impact of eye health aid on economies is backed by new research that shows sight-restoring operations help break the poverty cycle in developing countries like Vietnam. This is the aim of the United Nations' Millennium Campaign, which includes eight Millennium Development Goals, representing a combined global effort to eradicate poverty by 2015.

The Foundation began work in Vietnam 18 years ago, after the late eye surgeon Fred Hollows first visited the country and identified an ophthalmic skill shortfall. He committed to training the country's 300 ophthalmologists to perform modern cataract surgery.

Fred's legacy in Vietnam continues. In close partnership with local eye care services providers, The Foundation expanded its support to 16 cities and provinces throughout the country in 2010.

>Learn more about the Vietnam Program.