BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance developing a cohesive eye and vision care in the city, providing funds and for other purposes.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that it will be a declared policy of the local government to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them, thus, the city shall harness the collective voice of the city’s health system to initiate a city-wide action that emphasize and eye and vision health promotion and reduce vision impairment.
The ordinance added that the City Health Services Office shall provide trainings on primary eye care and other relevant services to barangay health workers and it shall also coordinate with the Special Services Division of the City Mayor’s Office and the City Schools Division Office to train day care and public school teachers on primary eye care and other services.
Under the proposed ordinance, an annual vision screening in the city shall be spearheaded by the City Health Services office in barangays, day care centers, public schools, and other venues in coordination with the Special Services Division, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) and other partner organizations.
Further, the BGHMC shall assign doctors and other support staff to provide technical assistance during the vision screenings.
Among the services that will be provided by the City Health Services office include referral to the BGHMC and other government hospitals for those needing cataract and eye surgeries; assistance in the enrolment of clients to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and financial assistance for indigent Baguio residents to acquire collective corrective eyeglasses and other eye care services.
The City Health Services Office shall endeavour to partner with private, public and non-government organizations and institutions which may assist in the conduct of eye care trainings, vision screening, eye health education programs, provision of low-cost or free eye surgeries, eyeglasses and other eye health services.
Moreover, the City Health Services office in coordination with the Special Services Division of the City Mayor’s Office shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations necessary for the effective and efficient implementation of the local legislative measure within 60 days from its approval.
Yangot proposed that the amount necessary for the implementation of the measure shall be allotted in the city’s annual budget and incorporated in the budget of the City Health Services Office.
Based on available data, 253 million people living in the different parts of the world have visual impairment wherein 36 million are blind and 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment. An estimated 19 million children are also considered to have visual impairment.
On the other hand, 81 percent of visual impairment could be avoided if diagnosed and treated early, 1.4 million children could benefit from vision rehabilitation and around $102 billion could be saved with appropriate eye care services.
By Dexter A. See