EU Consultant praises Saint Lucia’s eye care programme

An Independent Consultant working with the European Union, has praised Saint Lucia’s eye care programme through the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA).

Carl Browne is here to evaluate a five million US dollar EU funded project focused on delivering twenty-twenty vision in four Caribbean countries – Saint Lucia, Guyana, Haiti and Jamaica.

“Saint Lucia has done very well,” Browne told the Times, adding that there will be a positive report for this country.

The six-year EU project ended on August 31, 2016.

Browne is visiting the four Caribbean countries that benefitted for a final evaluation to determine the extent to which the project objectives have been met and record the issues and challenges encountered.

His final report will be submitted by October 3, 2016.

The project covered five areas, including building institutional capacity of the blind associations in the four target countries, providing eye health services, training health personnel and developing vision centres.

Browne said it was unique in the context of the project that the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association has a bi-lateral cooperation agreement with the government and the Ministry of Health in terms of delivering eye care services.

“The association has been given certain lead responsibilities in doing that and that is excellent,” he told the Times.

The EU Consultant disclosed that in Saint Lucia, an ophthalmologist has been trained along with two optometrists and other eye care personnel, with a vision centre being established here with a spectacle lab offering low cost, high quality spectacles.

“This project wanted to reach the poor and rural populations and so the services that were developed with that in mind,” Browne revealed.