Blindness prevention, everyone’s duty

Allan Jay

KUCHING: The Ninth Joint District 3300 and 3310 Seeing Eye to Eye Conference (SE2E) 2019 was successfully held last Saturday (Oct 19) at Chemsain Auditorium, Rock Road.

The conference was declared open by Tourism, Arts, and Culture minister cum Youth and Sports minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. He was representing Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The chief minister in his speech read out by Karim said, “This conference fits the state’s Health Department mission of creating an environment where everyone is involved in the health and well-being of the people.

“This means, we should not just leave our people’s health to the doctors and nurses who are doing their best to cope with the volume of patients every day. Therefore, our role in the community is to contribute what we can to alleviate the burden of our healthcare system.

“One of the ways is by learning how to prevent diseases or illnesses. By preventing diseases, we are not just improving the well-being of the people; we are also reducing the economic impact of healthcare on government funding, thus allowing us to direct our funds to development in other areas.”

About 100 teachers from various schools were in attendance at the conference.

Abang Johari further noted that the participants not only enhanced their roles as educators in the community; they also contribute to the community’s health by learning how to detect their students’ eye problems and prevent serious future eye problems.

“Imagine the lives you can improve and the lives you can save by detecting a serious eye illness early,” he said.

Apart from the conference, there were also eye screenings done throughout Sarawak with the most recent being just a day before the conference held at Kampung Pichin, Serian where Education, Science and Technological Research minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong officiated.

Dr John (third left) presenting a memento to Karim (fourth right) at the SE2E Conference.

Dr John Chan, the SE2E 2019 organising chairperson noted that at the eye screening programme in Kampung Pichin, two students aged seven and nine respectively were found to have bilateral dense cataracts while a young girl was diagnosed with a form of cataract.

“This was a shocking find, especially in such young students and especially as the parents were not aware that their children had cataract had the eye screening not been done. The students will be referred to Sarawak General Hospital for further treatment,” he said.

A total of 200 students from 65 schools went through eye screenings and a number were provided with free eye-wear based on the prescription. The eye screening was sponsored by OCBC Bank, Kuching while the lenses were sponsored by Essilor Sdn Bhd.

The SE2E Conference is an ongoing annual event coordinated by the District Action Group for Blindness Prevention (DAGBP) of District 3300 and the Blindness Prevention Committee of District 3310.

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