The Ministry of Health has collaborated with the Ministry of Education to launch the ‘I can see clearly vision project’.
A press conference was held to launch the project at the Ministry of Health’s conference room on Tuesday.
In 2012, a survey was conducted and results showed that 9% of students attending primary and secondary schools had vision problems.
Following the survey the Government of Dominica decided to start the ‘I can see clearly vision project,’ which is geared towards ensuring that students of all primary and secondary schools are screened and provided with medical attention where necessary.
The Hon Minister for Health, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, says this project will seek to address a number of eye and vision issues such as blindness and refractive errors.
“Vision is critical to children’s education and development. Although in Dominica we have seen significant advances in the health system here on island, unfortunately a vast number of our children still fall through the cracks as it pertains to adequate professional eye care and vision care,” he said.
The project will be done in two segments; from Tuesday, December 13 to Friday, December 16, children from 36 primary schools on island will be screened by family nurse practitioners.
The second segment will be done in the new school term with the screening of students from another 24 primary schools and all secondary schools.
Hon Minister for Education, Petter Saint Jean, gave his ministry’s support to the project.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Helen Royer, explained that the project should have started a while now. She explained that the announcement of free eye care for students was made in the Hon Prime Minister’s 2012 budget address.
“This was in an effort to ensure that vision problems were identified very early and also to provide children an opportunity, especially those who may not be able to pay for spectacles, to allow them free spectacles,” she explained.
Three local professional eye facilities will provide the spectacles to the students who are required to use them.
The Government of Cuba also lends its support for the completion of this project. After screening is completed medical professionals from Cuba will be arriving on island to further evaluate the students for medical intervention.
The ‘I can see clearly vision project’ costs Government over EC$1M.