Five years after its launch, a local vision screening pilot program for school children is paying high-level dividends. The Ontario government recently indicated a new mandate for public health province-wide: to address vision.
HCF provided start-up funding in 2012 to the pilot at five high-need elementary schools. It discovered vision problems in 16 percent of the children screened. Of children who needed glasses, 18 percent didn’t have them. The project engaged multiple partners to provide screening space, transportation, expertise and equipment and more than 114 Hamilton schools are now involved. HCF has supported the program throughout, including subsidizing the cost for glasses.
HCF’s initial grant also helped document the project as a policy and public education tool. Now, incorporating that evidence into its broader findings, Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has mandated all public health units to address the need for vision screening.
“HCF’s funding was critical to getting this project going,” says Laura Laverty, from the City of Hamilton’s Healthy Families Division, ”and because of that, Hamilton has a head start on the province’s new vision mandate.”
Excerpt from the 2017 Legacy Fall newsletter