Some hundred thousand children from about 261 primary schools across Mauritius have been screened and have benefitted from eye care health services under the National Vision Screening Programme "Seeing is Believing", an initiative launched in 2012 with a view to identify and help children with poor eyesight.
These figures were given today by the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research of Education, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, during the vision screening exercise of primary students at the Flic-en-Flac Government School.
Minister Dookun-Luchoomun spoke of the importance of educating and sensitising the public on blindness prevention and vision impairment while highlighting the potential role of having a good vision in order to succeed in education. Improved access to eye care health services, she stated, is key to achieving quality education and reducing inequalities among students coming from different economic backgrounds.
She recalled that eye health should be considered as an important part of the general healthcare system which caters for the needs of the children as regards avoidable blindness and near to visual impairment. The Ministry, she stated, is engaged in ensuring that children learn in the best conditions and benefit from an enabling environment which equips them with increased competence in their educational pathway. A Health and Wellness Directorate, she added, has been set up so as to further promote health and wellness programmes in schools.
National Vision Screening Programme
The National Vision Screening Programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research of Education, the Optical Association of Mauritius and the Standard Chartered Bank. It provides various facilities to help in cases of curable blindness among children of Grade I and VI and provide free glasses to needy students.
The main objective of this nation-wide programme is to help tackle preventable and curable blindness and facilitate vision screening exercise in all Government schools across the island. The vision screening exercise is carried out by the staff of the Standard Chartered Bank with the support of educators and volunteers from the education sector. The programme has also been extended to primary schools in Rodrigues since the beginning of this year.