Writer Tanya Anthuan and Ted Mlynarz


From humble beginnings in 2002/03 with the first field trip to Vietnam taking place in 2003 with a handful of excited volunteers, Vietnam Vision Projects Australia has grown into an organisation of over 200 registered volunteers from all parts of Australia and Vietnam and from a variety of professions and vocations.

In the beginning, the primary activity was cataract operations, however, in recent years dental services and humanitarian deeds such as food parcel distribution to the most needy in the poorest areas of Vietnam have been included. The organisation has also contributed with fundraising activities to support people in Australia who have suffered from disasters such as floods and bushfires.

Working closely with the Rotary Club of Liverpool West and the Satellite Club in Cabramatta, clothing, school learning materials and books have also been provided.

It was 4 August 2012 when 79 volunteers from all parts of Australia gathered at Sydney and Melbourne airports to embark on this historic 10th field trip to Vietnam. With enthusiasm and anticipation the groups gathered at the airports with the equipment and supplies necessary to perform the tasks of cataract operations and dental procedures for the poor and needy people, young and old, who were in need of attention which they otherwise would not have access to.

The 2012 field trip area of operation was in the Quang Nam and Bac Lieu provinces, where the team was joined by volunteers from the Saigon Eye Hospital and the Saigon Dental Association.

                    Quang Nam province

                         Bac Lieu province

Our 5000th cataract patient


In Vietnam, cataracts are the number one cause of blindness. The number of people suffering from total blindness is in excess of 400,000, cataracts account for 66% while glaucoma, refractory errors and trachoma account for about 11%.


There are now more than 120,000 cataract operations in Vietnam each year, with the annual incidence of people affected by cataract being around 170,000 with women accounting for a higher proportion of cataract blindness. The majority of blind people live in rural areas and are poor. Despite tremendous assistance from overseas medical missions and charitable organisations, blindness is still a major problem.


The results of the 2012 field trip enabled VVP-A to achieve its 5000th successful cataract operation and the total over the past ten years now stand at 5029 operations.


Dental treatment has been included as a service provided by Vietnam Vision Projects – Australia. A team of 22 volunteers from Australia were ably assisted by 12 volunteers from Vietnam. Following its introduction in 2011, the Dental team has adapted very quickly to the conditions in rural areas of Vietnam and performed with great distinction, as shown by the summary of results shown below. These figures are a summary of results and are a reflection of the team work and efficiency achieved by the dental group.

RESULTS for 2012



Area Patients Examined Total Operated
Quang Nam 403 296
Bac Lieu 391 288
Total 794 584


Area Examined Tooth Extraction Tooth Restoration Both
Quang Nam 533 42% 43% 15%
Bac Lieu 482 51% 38% 11%
Total 1015 47% 41% 12%

1015 patients were examined with 1360 teeth being treated


In addition to Cataract Surgery and Dental treatment programs, VVP-A included other humanitarian activities into its busy schedule. Orphanages and temples were visited where food parcels and basic living supplies were donated to poor families in the areas.

Donations were provided to the VN Tai Tim Online – Da Nang youth group who conduct charity programs in the Duy Xuyen area, providing slippers and school bags to children who have been trekking considerable distance barefoot to attend school.

Donation of funds to the Vinh Long Medical Centre, operated by volunteer health practitioners and Buddhist monks, free medical services are provided to the poor.


Volunteers from Australia who traveled on the 2012, tenth anniversary field trip:

ORGANISING COMMITTEE: Dr Phuoc Vo, Dr Le Duc Hong, Dr Hien The Tran, Ms Thuy Nguyen, Dr Chinh Nguyen

OPHTHALMOLOGY TEAMMr David Worsnop, Dr Troy Lim Joon, Dr Nisha Sachdev, Dr Son Chau-Vo, Dr Andrew Narita, Dr Kevin Foo

GP TEAM: Dr Tam Thanh Tran, Dr Loc Dac To, Dr Son Van Nguyen, Ms Chau Ngoc Tran, Ms Elizabeth Tran, Dr Henry Tran, Dr Ha Tran, Dr Ethan Nguyen

OPTOMETRY TEAM: Dr William Trinh, Dr Susan Ang, Dr Jenny Hsieh, Dr Tien Khanh Truong, Mr Thomas Hong, Ms Anh Kieu, Ms Biljana Zjajic

ANAESTHETIST TEAM: Dr Minh Duc Tran, Dr Michelle Soh, Dr Glenn Bakyew, Dr Minh The Tran

THEATRE TEAM: Dr Juliana Chong, Ms Allison Chong, Ms Amanda Cunningham, Ms Megan Broughton, Ms Dunia Tucker, Ms Loan Bach Tran, Ms Fiona Hales, Mr Peter Kandasamy, Ms Stephanie Wong, Mst William Trinh jnr, Mr Joe Cauchi, Mr Ted Mlynarz

ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM: Ms Tanya Anthuan, Ms Bach Dang Vo, Ms Catherine Ha, Ms Bich Thi Tran, Mr Andrew Tran, Ms Jenny Tran, Ms Ha Thanh Tran, Ms Tuyet Van Tran

CROWD SUPPORT TEAM: Mr Max Bunter, Mr Jim Leahy, Mr Long Hoang, Mrs Mita Westbrook, Mrs Jenny Vuu, Mr Matthew Worsnop

DENTAL TEAM: Dr Iain Mentiplay, Dr Henry Nguyen, Dr Oanh Ha, Dr James Ngo, Dr Thu Ba Tran, Dr Tai Duc Nguyen, Dr Amy Nguyen, Dr Hung The Tran, Dr Daniel Tran, Dr Hung Duong, Dr Mai Linda Duong, Dr Lan Tran, Ms Le Minh Cao, Ms Christine Phuong Nguyen

DENTAL ADMINSTRATIVE & SUPPORT TEAM: Ms Trudy Ho, Mr Charles Hili, Ms Dorothy Truong, Mr Chuong Thien Tran, Ms Kim Hong Huynh, Ms Helen Tran, Ms Thu Hang Tran


VIDEO & CAMERA TEAM: Mr Thang Chuong, Mr David Westbrook


Volunteers from Vietnam who accompanied the team:

SAIGON EYE HOSPITAL TEAM: Dr Phi Duy Tien, Dr Nguyen Hoang Can, Dr Tran Huy Hoang, Dr Huynh Chi Nguyen, Dr Nguyen Thi Uyen Duyen, Dr Nguyen Quang Vinh, Bui Huy Hoang, Ngo Thi Tuyet Hanh, Bui Thi Doan Trang, Nguyen Van Nghia, Tran Thanh Cao, Tran Duy Vu Long Nien, Ngo Hai Canh, Ngo Thi Hong Cuc

SAIGON DENTAL TEAM: Dr Luong Van To My, Dr Nguyen Quang Tam, Dr Cao Thanh Trung, Dr Vo Thi Le Nguyen, Dr Ngo Quang Bao Luan, Dr Huynh Le Tuong Vy, Dr Nguyen Phuoc Bao Khoa, Cao Ngoc Khanh, Huynh Trang Phuong Truc, Nguyen Dinh Hung An, Dr Nguyen Thi Hong Hanh, Nguyen Doan Khanh Hung


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