Hans Bjørn´s speech at the opening ceremony

April 12th 2016 the new space for Help Moldova´s Low Vision Centre was opened. Hans Bjørn Bakketeig, president of the organization, held this speech: .   Dear Ministers, Honorable guests and Friends! This is a very special day for the Organization Help Moldova and The Low Vision Center. But it is even more important for the visual impaired in Moldova. We have many good partners, both in Moldova and in Norway, official and private. Without voluntary support, we could not reach the point where we now are.  An example of this: The rehabilitation of the new center is financially supported by four high-schools in Norway. Every year the students have a charity-/solidarity day collecting money to support our activities in Moldova. We opened our first space, here at this hospital in April 2009. We got one room on 16 m2. Little space, but much warmth. Till now we have about 5000 patients in our files. 5000 individuals have been served. The visual impaired represent a large resource for any society; also for the Moldovian. During the last years one of our main focus has been to obtain more space. We needed more space to give better services and opportunities for the low vision patients  to enable them to take part in school, work and social life. At the same time we worked for better conditions in opthalmology and better condition in optometri. We have been giving seminars, equipping hospitals and policlinics with neccesary equipment for assessment and treatment. I would like to mention two persons who have been of outmost importantance for us having better facilities. I want to say thank you very much to former ministers mr. Buga and mr. Gilca. I feel that without their efforts we had not achieved this. We are optimistic by future colloboration with both ministry of social protection and ministry of health. The new space gives us possibilities to help a larger number of visual impaired. It also gives us possibilities to use new equipment and more advanced low vision aids. In colloboration with the Medical University the Low Vision Center will be a part of the education of optometry and opthalmology students. Our intention is to start an education in optometry at the University in September this year. The support from the Foreign Ministry in Norway is important to reach the goal from WHO program Vision 2020 to avoid unneccesary blindness. In about one month we will be able to do laser treatment here at our center. The patients with for example the diagnose diabetic retinopaty will have the possibility to be treated to avoid blindness. Both the low vision center and Republican Hospital will have the laser and also an OCT – (Optical coherance Tomography). OCT is an instrument to help with the diagnosis and to provide treatment guidance. Dear friends: Before the official opening, again I would like to underline the importance of the new space. It gives us better opportunities for assessment and treatment to avoid blindness. I want now to introduce to you two of our invitees who will make the official opening and to cut the blue ribbon: Mr. Herman Baskår from the Norwegian Embassy in Bucurest and Daniel, 10 years old he is, and our patient, who represents the future of Moldova.