Haiti's first optometry school officially opened on April 12.
School of Optometry & Vision Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of I’Université d’État d’Haïti will seek to graduate 16 optometrists per year, according to a press release.
According to the release: "Over the last five years, Optometry Giving Sight and its partners from the global optometric community have come together to ensure that the people of Haiti can be trained to help their own communities, their country, and their fellow Haitians see a better future, quite literally, for generations to come."
Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon, chair of Optometry Giving Sight, said the five-year program's graduates "will have a significant impact for the eye care landscape in Haiti, each being able to see 3,000 patients per year on average."
At present, Haiti, a country of over 10 million people, has only three local optometrists, the release noted.
Jeff Duncan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Vision Source, major donor and partner to the project, said, “With virtually no optometrists, there has been limited opportunity for the Haitians to obtain quality vision care. Vision Source feels privileged to play a role in helping build a sustainable foundation to change this. Partnering with Optometry Giving Sight, underscores Vision Source's mission of ‘enriching lives by enabling independent optometrists to reach their full potential.’”
The school is a collaboration between the Optometry Giving Sight, I’Université d’État d’Haïti, Brien Holden Vision Institute, VOSH International, Charity Vision, I’Université de Montréal, Vision Source, Essilor Canada, Digicel Foundation and other supporters.
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