Eye Care Services for Black Belt Students Expanding
MONTGOMERY – The Children’s Health Fund reports that in the United States there are nine million children who don’t have health insurance coverage. As a result of this lack of coverage, many children don’t get the adequate care they need to have a healthy childhood.
The Black Belt area of Alabama has a very high poverty rate with a high shortfall on medical care. Since many black families can’t afford proper medical care many children have serious medical issues. One of these problems is with eye care.
The Black Belt Action was started by Governor Bob Riley which has sent a volunteer group called the Black Belt Eye Care Consortium into the area. Once, they screened over twelve thousand children and three thousand adults. After screening for eye problems they were given a follow up clinic appointment. If people needed them, free eye glasses were provided.
The screenings are done by volunteers of the Head Start Program at local elementary schools. The funding for the program comes from the State of Alabama. Since the program started it has helped to prevent 269 children from experiencing vision loss. Other states have started to copy the model of the Black Belt Action plan and currently efforts are being made to expand similar plans into other states where children need proper eye care.