De Lima pushes for national strategy to address vision defects

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure seeking to institutionalize a National Sight Strategy that provides a comprehensive national plan of action to address the prevalence of vision defects, including blindness, in the country.

De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1709, to be known as the National Sight Strategy Plan Act, as she expressed concern over the serious and negative impact that vision defects pose to the citizenry.

“Sight is one of the most prized senses. But the high incidence of vision defects and abnormalities pose serious public health issues,” she said in her bill’s Explanatory Note.

About two million Filipinos are estimated to suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment. Philippines, based on World Health Organization, is among three countries in the Western Pacific that account for the most incidence of blindness in the region.

“Visual impairment results in lost employment opportunities, decreases productivity, impedes learning and diminishes the general well-being of those who suffer from them,” she added.

Under her measure, the Department of Health (DOH) is mandated to formulate a National Sight Strategy that should address the collection, collation, organization and publication of data and statistics on the incidence and prevalence of vision abnormalities.

In addition, the DOH shall lead in the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to address vision health issues, including the conduct of public education promoting and improving vision health at all ages.

The DOH, she continued, should also lead in the development of the study and practice of vision health-related professions and the undertaking of studies and consultation to formulate recommendations on the inclusion of vision care services in national health programs.

“This proposed measure seeks to address the need to strengthen vision care in the country,” De Lima said, adding that the physical well-being of the people, including their vision health, is a primary concern of the State.

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