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CBM-Peek Zimbabwe Project launches with National School Health Policy

The audience at the event enjoy a demonstration Peek technology from a project assistant.

Credit: Zimbabwe Council for the Blind

On 11 June 2018, the CBM-Peek Zimbabwe Project was introduced to the nation during a high-profile event attended by the Ministers of Health and Child Care and Primary and Secondary Education, senior Government and UN officials, development partners and civil society representatives.

The event, hosted by a local primary school, was an important one for the country’s education and health sectors as it marked the official launch of the School Health Policy.  This policy serves as a reference guide to the implementation of health related interventions concerning the welfare of learners in the school system.

The theme of the event was “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, with the emphasis on educating students to make healthy choices throughout their lifetimes, and more importantly making school a healthy environment so that children are able to learn.

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are committed to implementing a comprehensive school health programme and realizing the policy’s vision which seeks “a primary and secondary education system with an enabling environment for the provision of equitable, sustainable and quality health services for all learners”.

Of central importance to the event were the children who will benefit from the implementation of this policy. Children from primary and secondary schools across Harare were invited to perform during this event, showcasing their talent in between delivered speeches.  It was emphasised that the inclusion of children in the event gave them a sense of ownership over the policy, which is theirs.

The CBM-Peek Zimbabwe Project was exhibited at the event as an innovative project which is set to provide quality eye care services in schools. Speaking during the event, the Country Representative for CBM, Deborah Tigere, elaborated on the five-year CBM-Peek project which will be providing free eye screening using smartphone technology in the schools and communities of 7 provinces namely: Harare, Bulawayo, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Midlands.

The project is being implemented by Zimbabwe Council for the Blind in collaboration with the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and Health and Child Care, with funding from CBM. A quick demonstration of visual acuity testing using Peek Acuity was done for the benefit of the audience and this was received with much enthusiasm and interest. A Zimbabwe Council for the blind booth was set up outside the venue and delegates attending the event were able to tour and speak to the organisation’s representatives to gain more understanding on the project.

About the authors: Samantha Nyathi (left) and Ruvimbo Chidziva (right) are both programme assistants on the CBM-Peek project for eye health screening in Zimbabwe.  They are based with Zimbabwe Council for the Blind in Harare, and assist with all aspects of the project’s planning, coordination and publicity.