This year the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA) commemorates the observance of Diabetes Awareness Month by taking the opportunity to launch the much awaited public awareness campaign for the National Diabetic Retinopathy Screening and Treatment Programme (NDRSTP) in Saint Lucia. The promotional launch of the NDRSTP will take the form of appearances on various media shows and the development of promotional paraphernalia all intended to raise public awareness to diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a serious condition which affects the eyes of persons with diabetes and could potentially result in blindness. This condition affects many persons globally and is widely regarded as a form of preventable blindness by experts from WHO and other international agencies. With early screening and treatment, Diabetic Retinopathy can be detected and treated appropriately, thus averting loss of vision.
The primary mandate of the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association is to provide support to persons with visual impairment and offer clinical eye care services that will screen, treat and in some cases prevent blindness. One of these services is a walk in clinic where persons with diabetes can access professional eye examination, diagnosis and treatment.
The NDRSTP is a component of Caribbean Diabetic Retinopathy Screening and Treatment Programme [CDRSTP] graciously funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, the tenets of which are to eliminate “Avoidable Blindness”. Technical support and oversight is provided by collaborating agencies and associated partners such as the Ministry of Health and Wellness [MOHW], Saint Lucia Diabetic Hypertensive Association [SLDHA], Caribbean Council for the Blind [CCB] and Sight Savers. The CCB implements CDRSTP through member agencies like SLBWA and partners.
It is hoped that with public awareness that DR is treatable, and early screening could halt the progression to blindness persons diagnosed with diabetes will avail themselves of the services offered at the SLBWA’s Eye Care St. Lucia [ECSL] clinic. Members of the public are encouraged to take along relatives and friends with diabetes, glaucoma and other eye problems to visit the walk-in clinic from Mondays through Thursdays. The clinic is available on first come first serve basis, from 8am to 2pm. DR Screening is available by appointment on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Diabetic Awareness Month’s activities are coordinated by SLDHA with tangible support of SLBWA, MOHW, National Vision 2020 Committee [NVC] and the Cooperate Community. Together we urge every citizen and residence of St. Lucia to maximize this great opportunity for continuing the fight to “eliminate avoidable/preventable blindness”. Remember, “your eyes are for life”. So take responsibility for your eye health.