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ChildFund health project helps Hai see a brighter future

Fourteen-year-old Hai from Vietnam used to feel embarrassed around his friends and teachers because of his eyelid.

Hai was born with congenital drooping in one eye. He was often teased and called ‘cross-eyed’. His parents promised that when he was older, they would do their best to get his eyes tested and treated.

But Hai comes from a disadvantaged community in Hoa Binh Province where access to healthcare can be difficult for many families.

Through a health project supported by ChildFund Vietnam, Hai was able to get his eyes tested. The doctor said that Hai had myopia, a condition in which he could only see objects near him clearly, and congenital eyelid drooping. Both conditions could be treated but Hai would have to go to the capital city, Hanoi, for surgery, which would be expensive.

ChildFund Vietnam’s health project runs preventative health screenings for children in rural areas and helps them access the treatment they need. So far, the project has been implemented in 15 primary and secondary schools in Kim Boi and Tan Lac districts.

ChildFund Vietnam health project officer, Hien, has been working closely with Hai and his family. She went through the benefits of surgery, prepared the paperwork, what they could expect and put his parents at ease with the process. She emphasised that the treatment could significantly improve Hai’s life. He could become more confident and be better able to focus on his studies.

Hien organised for the project to pay for the medical examination and surgery, along with travel and accommodation expenses for Hai and his parents in Hanoi.

The eye surgery was successful. “I used to feel embarrassed when talking to my friends and teachers because of my eyelid was dropped,” Hai says. “Now I no longer have congenital drooping eyelid and I am not afraid to talk with my friends any more.”

Hai is one of 31 children to have received treatment for an eye condition and is one of 4,758 students to have had an eye examination since ChildFund’s project started in 2020. ChildFund continues to work closely with his family to make sure Hai is recovering from his surgery, wearing his prescription glasses and is having regular check-ups to monitor his eyesight.

Hai is now a more confident student and is excited for the future. He is focusing in class, spends more time time reading books, and has returned to playing football.

“I feel more confident when reading in front of the class or making a speech,” he says. “Now, I can do whatever I want.”

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