JIS News

Some 100 students from Jamaica College, as well as the Papine Comprehensive and Mona High Schools and their parents are expected to benefit from a vision-screening programme to be hosted by the Foundation for International Self Help (FISH) medical clinic. This exercise is to be held on October 12, in commemoration of World Sight Day, at the FISH clinic on Gordon Town Road.
Administrator at the FISH Medical Clinic, Carol Fofanah, informed JIS News that the vision-screening programme, which would be held in collaboration with the Lion’s Club of St. Andrew Central, would provide the targeted parents and students with a variety of activities from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
“We will be giving them educational tours of the facilities, and also glasses will be [offered] at subsidised rates. We will let them see the ophthalmologist if necessary and the optometrist where necessary. We are going to give talks on diabetes, because a lot of persons who suffer from diabetes also have problems with their eyes,” she said.
Mrs. Fofanah told JIS News that FISH has conducted similar programmes in a number of educational institutions.
In 2005, FISH secured some $22 million in funding through the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund to carry out a two-year vision-screening programme for Grades One and Six students in primary schools within the Kingston and St. Andrew region.
The money was approved by CHASE, she said, following a submitted proposal by FISH, which noted that there was a high percentage of academic failure among primary school children, based on the fact that their sight problems were going undetected.
“So we did a proposal to the CHASE Fund and got this money,” the FISH Administrator noted, adding that to date, some 18 schools in the Corporate Area have been screened.
“We are hoping that at the end of the two-year programme, which is next year November, we will be able to expand our services to the other areas, because it is a very interesting exercise and you recognise how many children really need to have glasses and some of them have other serious problems that we have discovered in this process,” Mrs. Fofanah said.
The FISH Medical Clinic was established in 1985 by Professor Louis Grant, with its mission statement being to enhance the health of the nation by providing quality, affordable, preventive and creative health care to persons in need, through a multi disciplinary team of health workers and volunteers.
Mrs. Fofanah said the clinic has experienced significant growth over the period. Currently, FISH is staffed by 50 persons, including two medical doctors. The clinic has its own pharmacy, dental clinic, and lens lab, where the cutting of lenses are done.
The Administrator explained that while the clinic was initially perceived to be a health institution catering primarily to the poor, “you find that the clientele of FISH has been changing, and we are hoping to expand our pharmacy”.
To this end, she has extended an invitation for all persons interested in seeking eye and dental services to visit the clinic, which offers competitively priced prescribed pharmaceuticals and low cost eyeglass frames.
“Our prices are the best any where.we don’t mark up like other pharmacies. Likewise, with our modern frames, we don’t put on the high mark-ups as well,” Mrs. Fofanah informed.

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