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Children to receive eye and diabetes care following free screenings

Pupils get their eyes tested courtesy of the Merriman Lions Club. Picture: Supplied

Pupils get their eyes tested courtesy of the Merriman Lions Club. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 22, 2022

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Cape Town - More than 10 000 learners from under-resourced communities were screened at school during a “Vision & Diabetes” screening drive by the Merriman Lions Club.

On Thursday, several learners who had previously been screened at their schools will receive further assistance at the club house based in Goodwood.

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Scottsville Primary School Grade 3 teacher Elaine Diana Cloete said the annual initiative was also in commemoration of Youth Day celebrated last week.

Cloete was one of the teachers co-ordinating and administering the project at Scottsville Primary School.

“What they did during the month of April, they had the initiative in a number of different schools – more than 10 schools in underprivileged communities, and we were one of those schools. They did a basic eye test or screening and they also did diabetes testing,” Cloete said.

The initial screening at Scottsville Primary School saw 1 100 learners screened, of which 158 learners were identified and met the criteria for a comprehensive eye test, and 40 learners with irregular blood sugar levels.

“They identified how many of those kids are supposed to go for a comprehensive eye test so that’s taking place on Thursday. They are sponsoring a free eye test, should they require spectacles, they also receive them free of charge,” Cloete said.

The Club’s Vision & Diabetes screening co-ordinator, Alison Alexander, said more than 1 000 learners would be transported to the club.

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“The kids are from Bishop Lavis, Elsies River, Leonsdale, Scottsville, Mitchells Plain and Uitsig, and then there are schools in the Goodwood area,” Alexander said.

“We tested over 10 000 children, so we tested all the children at all of the schools. And then they come tomorrow and an optometrist will test them for a full eye screening and then they determine if the child needs spectacles or not,” said Alexander.

Golden Arrow Foundation and Golden Arrow Bus service provided a R15 000 discount for the transportation of the children, with the rest of the money raised through public donations.

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“It’s been an amazing project to run. We even raised more money than we thought we would,” Alexander said.

“A week later, all those who needed spectacles will get a free pair of spectacles from different organisations and they will give those for free to the children.”

More than 7 000 children were tested for diabetes and follow-up sessions with the schools and parents will be held, Alexander said.

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