Making Optometry Part of Haiti’s Future

GirlHaitiMaking Optometry part of Haiti’s future.

(See download Proposal and Naming opportunities below)

Optometry Giving Sight is part of a coalition of organizations including the Brien Holden Vision Institute and VOSH International who are seeking to contribute to the reconstruction of Haiti through the establishment of a School of Optometry at the Université d’État d’Haïti (Haiti University).

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. There are only 3 optometrists and 6 ophthalmologists in the public sector servicing a country of 10 million. This makes access to eye health services difficult for over 70% of Haiti’s population and significantly reduces their ability to break the cycle of poverty through better education and employment.



HaitiConstructionHaiti hospital construction

“A trained workforce is the crucial link between the services and processes required to address the problem,” said Dr. Dave McPhillips, President, VOSH International. “A successful and strategic intervention in Haiti will make a significant contribution to reducing avoidable blindness and vision impairment for the millions in need.”

The School of Optometry will join the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy and be located within the new National Campus for Health Sciences that is currently being constructed with funds provided by USAID. “While Haiti is still in the process of rebuilding, we are ready to move forward in the areas of health and eye care,” said Dr. Jean-Claude Cadet, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy at Haiti University. “This is a great moment to be involved in the reconstruction of our country.”

At a very conservative estimate, the school will produce 16 students per year. These students will be able to reach a minimum 24,000 patients in their first professional year. With at least 16 graduates each year following, the new optometrists will be able to reach 360,000 patients after the 5th graduation cycle – about 80 times the current case load.

Clive and the Haiti Team

Cliveteam“We know that, from a cost-benefit perspective, setting up an optometry program in a developing country is economically justifiable in terms of increased productivity,” said Dr. Luigi Bilotto, Director of Global Human Resource Development, Brien Holden Vision Institute. “Now we need the help of the vision care community to start to build sustainable eye care within Haiti.”

Our goal is to welcome the first students into the new optometry program in October 2016. Work towards the development of a suitable curriculum for the new degree has already commenced, and Optometry is now included in the National Health Plan of Haiti.

“The Coalition, with support of Essilor Canada, has pledged $1million, but to move forward, we need an additional $3 million,” said Clive Miller, CEO Optometry Giving Sight. “With each significant financial contribution comes special recognition in naming opportunities, which reflects the impact of a gift and our gratitude for our donor partners.”

For further information, please contact us.

Download Haiti Programme Brochure