Special Olympics South Africa with the assistance of the local Uitenhage Lions Club and Leos recently provided free health screening for more than 200 learners with special needs.
“I have never seen anything like this and the screening has made a big difference to my child,” said Thobeka Dina who accompanied her child to the screening which was held in KwaNobuhle.
The Lions as well as its youth extension the Leo Club, assisted with the screening as it is one of the projects funded by the Lions Club International Foundation to address needs in the community.
“A major need identified was with individuals with intellectual disabilities, who have greater health needs than the rest of the population, but who are not given the opportunity to have general health screening,” said Uitenhage Lions Club President, Barend Erasmus.
This limited availability of health screening is provided by Special Olympics South Africa, which has been operational for more than a decade thanks to financial support from Lions Club International Foundation.
“Learners with special needs travelled from as far as Umtata to take advantage of this opportunity. The screening was hosted at Mzamomhle Special School.”
The screening forms part of the Healthy Athletes Programme in which trained medical professionals provide health screening in seven disciplines including general medicine, optometry, dentistry, podiatry, audiology, dietetics and physiotherapy.
“Special Olympics provide all equipment needed at the screening, but rely upon volunteerism from local Lions Clubs to assist at the various screening events.
“All non clinical tasks such as filling in forms, testing their far and near vision, testing colour vision and assisting to pick frames for those who were identified as requiring prescribed spectacles were provided by the Uitenhage Lions and Leos Clubs.
“The professional manner and empathy in which the Leos supported the project emphises the statement that whenever Lions get together, problems get smaller with unmatched integrity and energy,” said Erasmus.