Coordinator of the School Vision & BMI Programme “I Can See Clearly Now”, Nurse Joan Henry, has lamented the fact that parents and guardians are not signing consent forms that will give their children the go ahead to receive much-needed eye examinations and care.
The Ministry of Health and Environment together with the Ministry of Education launched the project in 2016 which aims to detect vision issues, namely blindness and refractive errors, in students 18 years and under in Dominica.
But many students are left unattended because parents or guardians are not signing consent forms for them.
“My main challenge is parents having to sign the consent forms,” Henry stated.
She said at one primary school only 60 out of 191 students were screened because there were no consent forms for the others.
“These children are not assessed. Lists of the children whose parents have not consented are given to the secretary at the school so that the children’s parents could be contacted. The children are also told to tell their parents to come to sign the consent forms if they want them to participate because we will not do a second level that may need intervention on a child particularly in the primary school,” she said.
Henry has urged parents to get the consent forms signed because not doing so forms a hindrance to the successful completion of assessing the students from all the targeted schools.
“We have not completed Saint Mary’s Primary (SMP), St. Martin’s Primary, and Convent Prep because all the consent forms have not been signed by the parents…If you would like your child to participate in this program, please contact the school, the list is there, and have the consent form read and signed,” she remarked.
At a cost of E.C. $1-million, and sponsored by the Government of Cuba and funds from the Citizenship by Investment Program, the ‘I Can See Clearly’ program targets primary school students and 5th form secondary school students initially and then moves on to the rest of the school population.