Eye care for school-aged children

- dental care ongoing

The Health Ministry’s national eye care programme which targets mostly adults is now being expanded to accommodate school-aged children, in collaboration with Eye Care Guyana and the Ministry of Education, the Government Information Agency (GINA) said in a press release.

The Health Ministry is currently working out the logistics with the Education Ministry to launch the programme.

This particular project will focus on detecting eye-related problems in school-aged children because this is a common issue among students and impacts their learning abilities. The aim is to reach students before they advance to the secondary level.

Director of Regional Health Services D. Narine Singh said that the programme will see all Grade 6 students being screened to identify any visual errors so that they can be provided with the necessary corrective measures early.

He explained that while the ministry does not provide free spectacles, students can access free screening and the eyeglasses from Eye Care Guyana at prices far below those offered by private organizations. Parents will be given the child’s prescription to get the glasses from the organization, GINA stated.

This initiative is part of the 20/20 vision programme which is an international initiative that Guyana has signed on to.

Vision 2020 is a global initiative that aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. It was launched on February 18, 1999 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) together with more than 20 international non-governmental organisations involved in eye care and prevention and management of blindness that comprise the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. It is a partnership that provides guidance, technical and resource support to countries that have formally adopted its agenda.

Meanwhile, the dental initiative is ongoing in some schools and is being done in collaboration with the Cheddi Jagan Dental Centre and will be taken to all the administrative regions.

For last month the team spent several days in Region Four attending to students and will be moving to Region Five shortly. A mobile unit is being utilised to provide the dental services, GINA added.