Jamaica Has Made Strides in Quality of Care for Visually Impaired

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Professor Kenneth Hall, has said that Jamaica has made significant strides in the quality of care and service being provided for the visually impaired.
Professor Hall, who was speaking at the launch of the Lions Club of Kingston White Cane Month on Wednesday (March 7), noted that the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, which was instituted in 2000, provided the framework for Jamaica to develop and implement strategies to provide equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, visual or otherwise.
“This policy advocates the principles of equality, and non-discrimination against persons with disabilities in areas such as education and training, housing and family life and accessibility,” he pointed out.
He said that efforts to improve the quality of life of persons, who were visually impaired, would be further strengthened with the enactment of legislation.
Citing the United Nations Convention as a global effort, which seeks to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, Professor Hall noted that this Convention signified international efforts to empower and position persons with disability, into the mainstream of everyday life.
He said that the Convention would be available for signing and ratification at the United Nations headquarters beginning March 30.
The Governor-General commented the Lions Club for its efforts to assist persons with disabilities, noting that in addition to the White Cane project, the Club had implemented other initiatives, including screening programmes.
“Through these sight screening programmes, over 6,000 persons were able to have their eyes examined during calendar year 2006, with over 2,500 of them being referred to the optometrist for intervention,” he informed.
Professor Hall urged the Club to continue its work in distributing white canes to the blind and visually impaired, as by doing so, they were assisting them to become more independent and to make a more significant contribution to the society.
White Cane Month is observed in March to honour the many achievements of blind and visually impaired Jamaicans and to recognize the white cane’s significance in advancing their independence.
During the month, the club will collect money for initiatives such as youth eye screening, the purchase of glasses and assistance with eye surgeries.

JIS Social