A new project in Vietnam will help address a shortage of eye doctors in the north and central regions of the country and provide treatment to patients unable to afford surgery.

The Fred Hollows Foundation, together with US non-profit organisation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, will provide US$2 million to the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO), one of the country's key training centres.

The Foundation's Medical Director¸ Dr Richard Le Mesurier, said the two-year project will help the VNIO train even more qualified eye doctors to counter the increasing backlog of patients living with avoidable blindness.

In addition to the supply of essential equipment and an upgrade to the VNIO's training facilities, funding will be used to develop training manual guidelines for eye doctors in Vietnam, in line with international standards.

Basic training courses will be conducted for eye doctors at a grass-root level, especially in the remote and mountainous regions of north and central Vietnam.

A community eye care centre will also be established to provide treatment free of charge for patients who cannot afford to pay.

Last year in Vietnam, The Foundation screened 810,148 people and performed 27,331 sight restoring or improving interventions - including 11,383 cataract surgeries.

>Find out more about our Vietnam program.