On the 11th of June, 2018, the Peek Zimbabwe Project was introduced to the nation during a high profile event. The theme of the event was “a healthy mind in a healthy body” and placed emphasis on educating students to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime and more importantly making school a healthy environment so that children are able to learn.
A landmark achievement for the country.
The 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, Christian Blind Mission’s (CBM) Country Representative, members of the United Nations family, senior Government officials, development partners and civil society representatives.
The event which was 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 which serves as a reference guide to the implementation of health related interventions concerning the welfare of learners in the school system. The development of such a policy, according to Dr. Parirenyatwa, was recommended in 1999 by the Nziramasanga and the Health Presidential Commissions making the development of this policy, almost two decades later, a landmark achievement for the country.
The theme of the event was “a healthy mind in a healthy body” and placed emphasis on educating students to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime and more importantly making school a healthy environment so that children are able to learn. It was acknowledged by all in attendance that for this to be realised the two ministries need to work hand in glove. In his speech, the Minister of Health and Child Care said, “a comprehensive school health programme is an expensive but necessary programme that calls for multi-sectoral efforts, strong coordination and collaboration at all levels”.
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. The Principal Director of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mrs. Nyanungo emphasised the importance of including children in the event so that they could have a sense of ownership over the policy which is for them. Remarks given by the Child President showed gratitude to both ministries for prioritising the health and well-being of its learners.
The Peek Zimbabwe Project was exhibited as an innovative project which is set to provide quality eye care services in schools. Speaking during the event, the Country Representative for CBM congratulated the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Health and Child Care on the joint development of the policy which facilitates investment in children’s health. She went on to elaborate on the 5-year 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 two ministries with funding from CBM. A quick demonstration on 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.