|??Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Irene Sandiford-Garner receives customised lenses from Maureen Graham of the Lion’s Club, St. Michael, for the Winston Scott Polyclinic’s, School Eye Clinic yesterday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)|
Over BDS $3,000 worth of eye equipment and supplies was yesterday presented to the School Eye Clinic of the Winston Scott Polyclinic by the Lions Club of St. Michael.
The donation included two cases of customised trial lenses that would be used in the assessment of children who need spectacles.
In accepting the gift on behalf of that polyclinic, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner related her experience as a 12- year-old in need of spectacles and whose need was detected by a "vigilant teacher".??
She said: "This is especially poignant for me, because I understand that the equipment that you have is over 30 years old and that was around the same time I got my glasses. So, I am very heartened that the Lions Club would have seen it fit to devote this time and effort to presenting the children with $3,000 in equipment and supplies… The Government and people of Barbados are grateful for it."
Pointing out that the Lions Club in Barbados was synonymous with care, she added: "We have the Lions Eye Care Clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which we are trying valiantly to finish. I understand [that] we now need an air-conditioning unit for it that is going to cost us at least BDS $5 million. But, we are committed to finishing it and even though it may take a lot longer than we had hoped, we are committed to completing it because the eyesight of our people is important and the eyesight of our children is vitally important."
In her response, Representative of the Lions Club, St. Michael, Maureen Graham said: "As members of the world’s largest service club, an organisation comprising 1.35 million persons in 45,000 clubs… we are proud to be pioneers of this project." Noting that for almost 100 years the Club had worked to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, she stressed that their aim was to improve the community.
Ms. Graham noted: "We believe that when a Lions Club gets together, problems become smaller and communities become better. We have volunteered to take part in projects that are saving the sight of our children. Through our efforts we have gained worldwide recognition for our work to improve sight and since 1990, we have donated over US $350 million to help provide vision for all".
While giving the rationale for handover of the trial lenses to the polyclinic, she explained: "We had heard at that time that several children in the school system had difficulties with seeing and needed testing to diagnose the problem. The existing system was outlined and immediately we realised that our community needed us.?? "We conceptualised Help Our Children See (HOS) projects.
She, however, added that the mandate was to raise funds to furnish all the polyclinics with eye testing equipment to be used for the benefit of the nation’s children."
In commending the polyclinic’s staff Ms. Graham said, "we are very happy to be part of this reality…. to be the driving force behind this project; it is hoped that this morning’s presentation would be the pilot and in the very near future we will again have the honour to work with the other polyclinics to see our mission through. We are committed to this project. We will not give up".
Meanwhile, Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ingrid Cumberbatch, expressed?? gratitude to the Lions Club and said: "We at the Winston Scott Polyclinic are always appreciative and seek such?? partnerships which strengthen our linkages?? with community based, non-governmental organisations and by extension the community that we serve".
She also added that the gift was fitting as it was Customer Appreciation Day at the polyclinic and came during Child Month. (JG/BGIS)