Eye Health : Centre Region Commissions Screening Unit

The Minister of Secondary Education, Prof. Nalova Lyonga carried out the inauguration on December 1, 2023 in Yaounde as part of Bright Sight project supported by Helen Keller Int’l.

 


Encouraged by the Bright Sight project being implemented in some secondary schools in the country, the Ministry of Secondary Education, with the support of the charity, Helen Keller Int’l, HKI, has set up a unit in Yaounde to cater for the eyes of students and teachers. The eye screening unit is located in the premises of the Regional Delegation for Secondary Education for the Centre in downtown Yaounde.


Inauguration
The unit was commissioned on Friday, December 1, 2023 in Yaounde by the Minister of Secondary Education, Prof. Nalova Lyonga. Also attending the ceremony was the visiting Helen Keller Int’l Regional Director for Eastern, Southern and Central Africa, Volkan Cakir, and HKI Cameroon Country Director, Prof. Robert Mba. As well as representatives of the Ministry of Public Health and partner institutions.


Thousands To Consult

Mrs. Sidonie Therese Ndemba nee Lebouga, the Centre Regional Delegate for Secondary Education, promised that the unit will provide free eye glasses to students as need be. She described the eye screening unit as the first of its kind in the country in the Ministry of Secondary Education. On the Bright Sight project, the Delegate said it will handle thosands of students in the Centre Region. While 143 secondary school teachers have been trained in basic eye screening under the three phases of the project. She announced the donation of a million FCFA to support the eye screening unit by someone who preferred to remain anonymous.


Applause For Mrs Ndemba
Volkan Cakir said HKI was proud to partner with Cameroon. He said though the prevalence rate of eye problems in Cameroon was less than 10 per cent, students still needed to be screened and treated. “Mrs Ndemba has done a great thing… She is a very passionate woman who always seeks to get results… I’m so grateful for what she has achieved,” Minister Lyonga commented.
“We must teach children to take care of their eyes in order to have clear vision throughout their lives,” she went on, urging teachers to get their eyes checked at least once a year. She appealed to students to take good care of the eye glasses offered for free.  


Emulate Her Example
Prof. Nalova called on other Regional Delegations of Secondary Education to emulate the example of Centre Region by setting up eye screening units. She encouraged those managing the Yaounde eye screening unit to make the procedure for receiving eye glasses less cumbersome. The Minister thanked the anonymous donor of 1 million FCFA for the running of the Centre Regional Delegation of Secondary Education Ophthalmology Unit.    


Third Phase
After the success witnessed in the first two phases of the eye health project, Bright Sight, the third phase was launched in Yaounde on Wednesday, September 27, 2023. Organised by Helen Keller Int’l Cameroon Office, and the Ministries of Public Health, and Secondary Education. The third phase of Bright Sight has seen the project extended to other health districts in the Centre Region. And to the West Region.

 

Marked Improvements
Concerning what was new about the third phase of the Bright Sight Project, Ndemba Sidonie said great improvements were witnessed in the performances of school children in the first two phases of the project. “We took indicators from when school children had not started wearing glass, and when they began doing so. We discovered that there were better results in school performance,” she explained.  
Representing Helen Keller Int’l, the Director of Food Systems, recalled how the project was launched in 2021 in the Centre Region and how much progress has since been made. It was later launched in Dschang in the West Region.

 

Accessing Quality Eye Care
The initial 12-month Bright Sight project was launched in the rural areas of Efoulan Health District in Yaounde in December 2021, targeting secondary school children aged 11-15 years. The second phase was launched in Dschang, Menoua Division of West Region on January 19, 2023. “The goal of the project is to expand the availability, accessibility and quality of eye health services to underserved school-age children with limited access to sight-saving services,” explains the project factsheet.  

 

Screening For Refractive Error, Others
Secondary school students are to be screened for ref...

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