Feature
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Issa Trust Foundation, Diane Pollard (sixth right); is pictured with overseas volunteers at last year’s vision clininc, which was held in Westmoreland.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • Hundreds of children from St. Mary have benefited from free eye examinations at vision clinics staged by the Issa Trust Foundation.
  • The clinics, held in collaboration with the Lions Club of Michigan and the Vision Mission Team of Altoona, Iowa, took place at the Oracabessa Church of God from October 7 to 9.
  • President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foundation, Diane Pollard, told JIS News that 887 children received eye checks and 172 pairs of glasses were dispensed over the three days.

Hundreds of children from St. Mary have benefited from free eye examinations at vision clinics staged by the Issa Trust Foundation.

The clinics, held in collaboration with the Lions Club of Michigan and the Vision Mission Team of Altoona, Iowa, took place at the Oracabessa Church of God from October 7 to 9.

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foundation, Diane Pollard, told JIS News that 887 children received eye checks and 172 pairs of glasses were dispensed over the three days.

She said the mission team was comprised of four optometrists, a licensed medical doctor, a licensed optician and 15 volunteer technicians “who provided comprehensive eye exams and fitted the children with glasses free of charge”.

She noted that all the glasses provided were previously used and were collected, sorted, cleaned, measured and shipped from the United States to Jamaica.

“The Lions use a computer programme to search for the best glasses that they have in their supply, which is closest to the child’s prescription needs,” she said.

In addition to the students examined, a clinic was held at Couples Swept Away for staff of that property and Couples Negril, where 329 employees were seen and 220 received glasses.

Ms. Pollard told JIS News that for five years, the Issa Trust Foundation and the Lions Club of Michigan have worked together to bring teams of optometrists, licensed doctors, opticians and volunteer technicians to provide comprehensive eye exams for Jamaican children, with 4,700 pairs of gently used eyeglasses provided.

She said that the Foundation is pleased to provide this service, so that children will be able to perform at an optimum level in school.

In addition to the vision mission, the Foundation made a donation of approximately $34 million towards the renovation of the Pediatric Ward at the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, which was completed last year.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, commended the Issa Trust Foundation and other partners for working with the Government to increase access to health are for Jamaicans.

He said the demands on the health sector are such that the assistance being offered by private-sector companies and individuals is greatly appreciated.

In addition to these philanthropic efforts, he noted that the Ministry is engaging Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora in improving primary healthcare facilities through the Adopt-a-Clinic Initiative.

“I want to place on record our appreciation for these acts of goodwill to Jamaica,” Dr. Tufton said.

“The truth is that Government can’t do everything on its own, and this is not an excuse; it is a reality, particularly as it relates to public health, as the demands of the system keep getting more and more,” he noted.

The Minister added that “these acts of kindness” profoundly send an important message that public health is everybody’s business. No matter how old you are… no matter how distracted you are because of other activities or interests… public health at some stage in our lives…will indeed be a point of contact”.

The Issa Trust Foundation was established in 2005 by Couples Resorts as a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit.

Its mission is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote the well-being and development of the people of Jamaica.

On October 3, the Foundation officially handed over a computer laboratory at the Three Hills Primary School in St. Mary, which was built with funds raised from the Couples Resorts Charity Golf Tournament.