Blaize stressed the importance of the program. File photo

The Ministry of Health and Environment together with the Ministry of Education has launched the ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ project that aims to detect vision issues, namely blindness and refractive errors, in students 18 years and under in Dominica.

The project costs $1-million and is sponsored by the government of Cuba.

The project was launched on Wednesday and Assistant Chief Education Officer Dr. Jeffery Blaize stated that it is very “critical to the effective delivery of educational services” in Dominica. It targets primary school students and 5th form secondary school students initially and will then move on to the rest of the school population.

“Within the Ministry of Education, we have recognized that we need to rule out risk factors that are not cognitive in nature and one of those would be the sight impairment of students,” he said.

He said the project begins on December 13 and ends on December 16.

“We intend to do the initial screening of pretty much more than half of the primary school population, and we are doing this simultaneously,” Blaize stated.

Blaize expressed gratitude towards the Ministry of Health for the timely nature of the project.

“We hope that it will make a big difference in terms of student’s cognitive growth,” he said.

Minister for Health Dr. Kenneth Darroux highlighted the policy direction of the ministry in relation the project.

“The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health pledge their full support towards the successful implementation of such a timely and humane project,” he noted.

The ministries have presented a team of local experts to work alongside a medical team from Cuba to “ensure the smooth execution of this project,” according to Darroux.

He thanked the team from Cuba for their continuous support and contribution to the development of the health care system in Dominica.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Petter Saint Jean said that the Government of Dominica will partner with local providers to “ensure every child needing eye glasses will obtain this in quick time.”

“We are fully committed to ensuring the success of this program. The ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ will perform dual roles, as it will provide the opportunity to both capture important health data and provide much needed eye glasses for our needy children around the island,” he said.

He made it known that only children diagnosed with “significant refractive error” will be given eye glasses. These glasses will be provided by three professional eye care facilities within the private sector.

He noted that any other eye problem diagnosed will be reported and “necessary follow-up action will be planned.”

The program will be held in schools as follows:

Tuesday December 13 ,2016
Dos Dane/Paix Bouche
Grand Fond
Kelab Laurent
Bellevue Chopin

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Savanne Paille
Lighthouse Academy
Jones Beaupierre
Kaleb Laurent
Morne Prosper ,
Wotten Waven
Petite Savanne

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Woodford Hill
San Sauveur
Morne Jaune
Tete Morne

Friday, December 16, 2016
Baroness Scotland
W S Steven
Castle Bruce
Grand Bay