Eye care has been significantly advanced for residents of central Jamaica with the official opening of an Ophthalmology Clinic and Operating Theatre at the Mandeville Regional Hospital valued at J$88.85 million. The clinic was opened by Minister of Health, Hon. Horace Dalley on Thursday, January 28.
Minister Dalley in his remarks explained that Jamaica has signed on to Vision 2020 which is a joint programme of the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness with an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations.
“Vision 2020 embraces strategies geared at reducing the risk of avoidable blindness including strengthening existing health systems and services and reducing the burden of disease for adults and children” the Minister added.
Minister Dalley expressed gratitude to SightSavers International, the European Union and the Caribbean Council for the Blind for its partnership with the Southern Regional Health Authority which has resulted in the establishment of the Eye Clinic.
Some areas of support from the Caribbean Council for the Blind include: disease control; human resource development including training of: Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Refractive Technicians and Nursing personnel and infrastructure development including: establishment of a dedicated eye department which included retrofitting of a dedicated building and provision of the full range of diagnostic and surgical systems.
Approximately fifteen thousand clients access the Ophthalmology Clinic annually with more than 115 thousand clients being treated over the past ten years.
CEO of the Caribbean Council for the Blind, Mr. Arvel Grant announced that plans are advanced to establish eye clinics at the May Pen, Black River and Lionel Town Hospitals, the Chapleton Community Hospital and the Mandeville Comprehensive Clinic and the Centre of Excellence at Santa Cruz.