Botswana will conduct national eye screenings for all school children

Botswana will conduct national eye screenings for all school children starting July 25, said a government official Thursday.

The project is a way of identifying school children with vision problems, said the National Eye Program Coordinator Alice Lehasa with the Ministry of Health, during a live broadcast on Botswana Television in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.

The testing will be done with Portable Eye Examination Kit (PEEK) technology. With the PEEK technology, medical doctors can detect blindness, visual impairment, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, as well as recommend spectacles for patients by using a smartphone, Lehasa said.

The program will begin in Kweneng District and spread to other parts of the country. It will end in 2025.

Lehasa also indicated that nearly 80 percent of children who see better can learn better, implying that treating vision and eye health problems in childhood has long-term benefits for wellness and productivity.

According to the Ministry of Health, one in every ten school children in Botswana has an eye health or vision problem, and it is estimated that 30,000 children would benefit from access to spectacles and other vision services. ■

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