An event, aiming to raise awareness on the importance of conducting vision screening at an early age, was held yesterday at the MITD House in Phoenix in the context of World Sight Day 2018. The Director of Health and Wellness Department of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Dr Neeshti Reetoo, the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Mr Mathieu Mandeng, the Liverpool Football Club legend, Mr John Barnes, and other eminent personalities were present on the occasion.
In her address, Dr Reetoo emphasised on the importance of educating and sensitising the public on blindness prevention and vision impairment. On this score, she spoke of the national vision screening programme which has been launched since 2012 in all Governmental primary and special needs schools of Mauritius by the Ministry and the Optical Association of Mauritius in collaboration with the SCB. This nationwide programme, she underlined, has provided various facilities to help in cases of curable blindness among children in the country adding that free glasses have been donated by the Optical Association of Mauritius to needy children.
For his part, Mr Mathieu Mandeng, highlighted that the national vision screening initiative is aligned to the global community investment programme of the SCB which is namely 'Seeing is Believing' which has as objective to avoid global blindness. Through 'Seeing is Believing', the bank has partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and leading international eye-care non-governmental organisations to improve access to eye care across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. By 2020, he added, the aim is to fundraise US$100 million for 'Seeing is Believing'.
Mr Mandeng further pointed out that the Bank is committed to continuously assess eye health care among children in public schools so as to prevent them from suffering from poor eyesight which may hinder their educational progress.
As for Liverpool F.C Legend John Barnes, he commended the engagement of the Ministry, the SCB and all relevant partners to tackle the health issue of preventable blindness at an early age, thus contributing to saving the sights of many children.
In Mauritius, since 2012, around 100, 000 vision screenings have been conducted, out of which 12% cases have been detected with vision impairment.
World Sight Day
World Sight Day is annually observed on 11 October and promotes global attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is the most important advocacy and communications event on the eye health calendar. This year's call to action is Eye Care Everywhere.