KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: National Prevention of Blindness Program PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 14:53

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATION: “For God so loved the word He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life...” (John 3:16, the Holy Bible).
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.5 M FILIPINO BABIES GO BLIND YEARLY: Did you know that, in the Philippines, around 500,000 babies go blind every year? This figure means that one Filipino child goes blind every minute! Then, 90% of our blind children do not go to school, and that 50% of blind Filipino children die in two years time.

But this is not all there is to it, according to Dr. Benita M. Soltura, one of the implementors of the “Vision 20-20 Program” of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, which is an entity composed of many agencies dealing with blindness led by the World Health Organization or WHO.
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1.4 M BLIND PINOY KIDS IN RP: In a lecture given to the different presidents of the Rotary Clubs comprising District 3810 of Rotary International (covering Manila, Pasay City, Cavite and Occidental Mindoro) last Monday, September 5, 2011, Soltura also disclosed that there are now 1.4 million blind children below the age of 15 in the Philippines.

She also showed statistics proving that the poorer a group of people are, there is a significantly higher risk of death among those who are blind. It is also an established fact, Soltura also told the Rotarians led by District 3810 Gov. Ernie Choa and Past District Gov. Lybne Abanilla, that 82 percent of Filipinos who are blind are 50 years and above.
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”NATIONAL PREVENTION OF BLINDNESS PROGRAM”: This is the reason why the government, in 2004, issued Administrative Order 179, Series of 2004, Soltura said. The order, which established the “National Prevention of Blindness Program” was meant to find immediate and long-term solutions to visual impairments afflicting Filipinos.

Under the program, the government aimed to increase cataract surgical rate from 730 to 2,500 by 2010, reduce visual impairment due to refractive errors  by 10% by 2010, and to reduce the overall incidence of blindness in the country. The program is now being subjected to an assessment process.
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”SIGHT FOR A CHILD PROGRAM”: One important aspect of the program is its focus on child blindness, Soltura said, explaining that statistics gathered by the “Vision 20-20 Program” show that 57 percent of child blindness is unavoidable, 28 percent is preventable, while 15 % is treatable.

“We have put up the `Sight For A Child’ project, where teachers of Grades 1 and 2 pupils are trained to do refraction or vision checking, to find out if help is needed by the children,” Soltura said.

She said that most often, children who do not perform well in academics are not really poor learners but are merely prevented from studying well because of vision impairment. Once it is established that a child is suffering from vision problems, the problems are corrected, and, almost instantly, academic performance gets better.