Enhancing primary eye health care in Moldova

Optometry program in Moldova. Photo
17 students are enrolled in the optometry program in Moldova. Photo

A new Optometry education in Moldova started September 1st. The Department of Optometry, Radiography and Lighting Design at USN are proud to be main partner and leader of the project to establish a sustainable education in Moldova.

The ability to see is important in all aspect of life. The fear of losing vision terrifies human beings more than death itself.

The World Health Organization and World Council of Optometry promotes the Optometrist to fight for unnecessary blindness. 45 out of 100 persons need spectacles to improve daily quality of life.

Moldova has a population of 3 million inhabitants and is one of Europe's poorest countries. There are 200 executive ophthalmologists and annually 7-10 new are educated. There are no optometrists registered. (In Norway, we have nearly 6 million inhabitants, 350 ophthalmologists and 1,500 optometrists).

In Moldova, the estimate is one optometrist per 20 000 inhabitant which means Moldova lacks 350 optometrists.

Health ministries in Norway and Moldova have signed an agreement to promote better health care in Moldova. The purpose of the agreement is that Norway contributes to better visual health care in Moldova.

Center for International Education has allocated six millions NOK to develop an optometry program in Moldova. State University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Nicolae Testemitanu" (MD-USMF), Department of Ophthalmology, will collaborate with the Department of Optometry and Visual Science at USN. The goal is to establish a four year long Optometry program. The education will be at the European diploma level.

Department of Optometry, Radiography and Lighting Design has accreditation at the professional level required by European diploma. The desire is to establish an education that have good international academic standards and that can provide opportunities for exchange of students and academic staff. The program in Moldova will primarily be taught in English. The program is unique in its kind, since no country around Moldova have similar educations. The program started 1. September 2017. 17 students are enrolled!