THE Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday encouraged local government units (LGUs) to consider integrating eye care into their local public health programs.
In a statement for the observance of the Sight Saving Month, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said there is a need to establish more Community Eye Health Program (CEHP) around the country.
“Having CEHP at the primary, district, and provincial level will be able to make the most of shared referral and service delivery network from barangay health stations, rural health units up to tertiary hospitals,” said Ubial.
Currently, the DOH said there are already CEHPs in Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, Occidental Mindoro, and Cavite.
On the other hand, CEHPs in Eastern Samar, Leyte, and Surigao are already being established, said the DOH.
“Early detection and preventive care can help you keep your eyes healthy and avoid common causes of blindness,” stressed Ubial.
The health chief said having CEHPs will be valuable especially given the burdensome effect of blindness not only to the affected individual but to his/her family.
“One blind family member results to two unproductive members in a family, because one is left out to take care of the blind family member,” she said.
“This is easily a double whammy that can sometimes lead to poverty and social dependency,” Ubial furthered.
Current data show that based on the country’s 2015 population, the current estimated number of persons, who are bilaterally blind, is pegged at 295,152, of which 59 percent is due to cataract, and 14 percent due to uncorrected refractive errors.
Also, the current estimated number of persons, who have low vision (moderate to severe visual impairment), is 1,430,109, of which 60 percent is due to errors of refraction, and 30 percent due to cataract. (HDT/Sunnex)