Launching the scheme at Mlodza secondary school in Lilongwe Muhara said it is President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s initiative of ensuring that all learners in the country have equal access to education. Muhara encouraged all learners to take advantage of the initiative and undergo eye screening.
He said as a global champion for the youth, and an accomplished scholar-President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika-continues with his drive to improve the welfare of Malawians and ensuring that they have access to quality services.
He added that in his quest to ensure that learners in both secondary and primary schools have equal access to quality education, Professor Mutharika has introduced the presidential sight saving scheme under the theme: Vision for the Youth of Malawi.
“This scheme targets visual impairment encompassing both low vision and blindness which has significant human and socio-economic consequences. The costs of lost productivity and rehabilitation as well as education of the blind represent significant economic burdens for the country. This is why Professor Mutharika came up with the presidential sight saving scheme with a goal to assist learners to have better eye sight and prevent blindness.” Muhara said.
He added that through the scheme learners in public primary and secondary schools will undergo eye screening and those found with problems will receive free optical glasses.
“It is our belief as government that through this scheme, any learners with refractive errors will be reached in the quest to improve their vision which is crucial in pursuit of their education ambitions," he said.
Meanwhile Muhara has appealed to other partners and organizations to partner government in the initiative.
“This is an initiative which will require strong inter-sectoral collaboration and participation of government ministries. It is also an initiative which will require financial and technical support from both government and development partners,” Muhara said.
The Chief Secretary also commended Lofty Opticals Limited of India for being the first to partner government on the sight saving and life changing scheme for school going children of Malawi.
And on his part one of the beneficiaries David Katenje who is a form two student at Mlodza secondary school was full of praises for President Mutharika for the initiative.
“I had problems in reading from afar when in class. I am more than happy that I am among students to first benefit from the presidential scheme. I say thanks a lot to the President,” said Katenje.
The presidential sight saving scheme is being implemented with a collaboration and participation of the Ministries of Health and Population, Education, Science and Technology, Gender, Children, Social Welfare and Persons with Disability, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Currently the first phase of the scheme has rolled out in Karonga, Lilongwe, Ntchisi, Kasungu, Machinga, Chiradzulu, Mwanza and Thyolo districts.