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‘Vision Now’ eye care flying again

‘Vision Now’ eye care flying again


The ‘Vision Now’ programme was no election gimmick and more Vincentians are to benefit from it in 2006.

So says Dr. Douglas Slater, Minister of Health. {{more}}

Last Monday morning at the Ministry of Health Conference Room, Dr. Slater and Cuba’s Florentino Batista, the Local Co-ordinator of ‘Vision Now’ brought the media up to date on the health initiative between the Governments of St.Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba, which affords Vincentians eye care in Cuba free of cost.

Dr. Slater, disclosed that the project, which started on July 17, 2005, will continue for another three to five months this year. He said that Health officials were astounded by the extent of visual problems.

At the end of 2005, 10,808 persons had been screened, and while 1,105 of those were selected to travel to Cuba, 827 have already made the trip.

Dr. Slater said in November there was a lull in activities due to the General Elections and unfavourable conditions at the E.T Joshua Airport. The landing and take off conditions posed limitations to the amount of patients the flights were allowed to carry.

He said that flights to Cuba were expected to resume by Wednesday this week. Already, there are over 100 patients who were waiting to go to Cuba.

Meanwhile, Dr. Slater said that whereas eye testing and the issuing of spectacles were not originally a part of the project, discussions are now on the way to include these as post operative care.

Responding to allegations of rumours that some people’s conditions worsened after they participated in the program, he said that he had not heard of any complaints.

To the question of clearing the backlog that existed last year, Batista said that in order to accommodate the large number of people travelling to Cuba more flights may have to be added.

Dr. Slater took the opportunity to urge all Vincentians to take the advantage of the programme.