The Community Eye Health Program will be implemented in Antique province starting June 13 for schoolchildren and locals.
Irene Dulduco, information officer of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said in an interview that Antique, through the Department of Health (DOH), has been identified by the Fred Hollows Foundation as one of two provinces in Western Visayas that will benefit from the program.
“Antique (and) Negros Occidental have been chosen as beneficiary provinces of the Hollows Foundation,” Dulduco said.
Based on its website, the Fred Hollows Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Australia that focuses on treating and preventing blindness and other vision problems. The foundation has presence in 25 countries.
She said that Antique received PHP12 million from the foundation for the acquisition of the equipment to be used for the free screening of individuals with defective eyesight.
“The equipment will be put up at the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital,” Dulduco said, adding that part of the funding from the foundation will be used for the monetary requirements whenever there is free eye screening in schools or in the communities.
“School kids will also be the priority because the program is also a partnership with the Department of Education,” she said.
She cited that during the Brigada Eskwela before the June 3 school opening, the IPHO conducted free screening at the Delegate Angel Salazar Memorial School in San Jose de Buenavista and it was found out that a number of school kids had vision problems.
“The free eye screening is a big help considering that people just usually ignore their eye defect,” Dulduco said.
She also said that the IPHO is appealing for volunteer optometrists or ophthalmologists.
“We have 2 doctor volunteers but we are looking for more,” she said, adding that school nurses and other local health personnel will also be trained for this program. (PNA)
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