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  1. A total of

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  4. impacting

  5. in
    Viet Nam

Project Background

In Vietnam, there are about 2.1 million people working in the manufacturing industry, with women making up to 90% of the workforce.Female factory workers represent a vulnerable population. They are often young, under-educated women who move from rural areas in search of work. These workers receive a low salary and work long hours, but rely on the income security and independence this work provides.

Free eye screenings are essential for female factory workers like Nguyen Hong (pictured below), who can easily develop work-related eye issues and are unable to afford medical services or find the time to access them.

A recent survey conducted by The Fred Hollows Foundation found that many factory workers experience headaches, watery eyes and blurred vision caused by hours focusing on fine needlework and repetitive over long periods.  

Project Activities

Through this project, The Foundation empowers female workers to access eye care services in their workplace by providing free eye exams and glasses for women diagnosed with eye problems. 

Educational sessions have been key to improving female workers understanding about eye health. Importantly, factory medical staff are trained in eye health to ensure that basic eye care is available on an on-going basis.   

The project has also helped to create eye-safe workplaces by introducing new safety measures, such as improved access to eye rinses and protec-tive goggles to limit eye injury caused by exposure to dust, chemicals and lighting. 

These direct interventions are showing a positive effect on worker productivity and engagement. 

To date, this project has proved successful in reaching large numbers of female workers in their workplace. The Foundation’s Vietnam team will continue to survey factory workers to assess improvements in eye health. 

Project Outcomes

In 2018, as part of the broader project, your support contributed to the following outcomes for female factory workers in Vietnam: 

  • 13,527 people screened 
  • 42 sight-restoring treatments performed
  • 1,397 spectacles distributed 
  • 27,268 people educated in eye health 

Of these results, your direct support helped us deliver 3,111 screenings, provide 321 spectacles for workers with refractive error and 9 sight restoring operations.  

Case Study: Nguyen Hong

At a shoe factory in Vietnam, 32-year old Nguyen Hong meticulously inspects a large sheet of leather. She is looking for defects, such as tears or marks. She cuts the leather into pieces that will later be turned into shoes of all shapes and sizes. 

Three years ago, Hong noticed her vision was becoming blurry. She found it difficult to do her job, often missing defects on dark and hairy leather sheets. 

 “I know my eyes have a problem, but it would take at least two working days for the eye examination and treatment” said Hong. 

“I would lose the salary for these days and I won’t have enough money to pay for my daily family expenditures.” 

Working the industries six days a week is a common barrier for factory workers unable to access basic eye health services. If vision problems are left untreated, these workers risk losing their jobs, leaving them unable to support their families. 

Fortunately, The Fred Hollows Foundation recently supported eye screenings for more than 13,547 factory workers in Vietnam. Thankfully, Hong was one of 1,397 people who received free a pair of glasses to correct her blurry vision. 
By delivering eye health care to their workplace and during work hours, Hong and other factory workers no longer have to worry about the added expense of getting their eyes checked.  

With her new glasses, Hong can now see clearly. She can cut leather quicker and makes fewer mistakes at work. She is thankful that she can once again help her children with their homework and is more conscious about maintaining good eye health for her family.    

What Next?

This pilot project enters its final year in 2019.

At the end of the project period, successes and challenges will be re-viewed and new activities will be considered for the wider roll-out of the project to new factories in Vietnam.

The Foundation currently supports nine projects across the country and continues to address avoidable blindness by supporting surgeries and screenings, training eye health professionals, providing equipment and new technology and advocating to make eye health a national priority. 

Can I Visit this Project?

Interested donors need to contact The Foundation.

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