Em­ploy­ers urged to hire more visu­ally im­paired work­ers

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - – JIS

MIN­IS­TER OF Health Dr Christo­pher Tufton is call­ing for em­ploy­ers to hire more blind and visu­ally im­paired per­sons.

“Let us not use a lack of sight or vi­sion im­pair­ment to judge the com­pe­tence of in­di­vid­u­als, who more of­ten than not are trained, com­pe­tent and able to add value. I think, as a coun­try, we need to do more to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for them,” he said. Dr Tufton was ad­dress­ing a World Sight Day health fair, held last Thurs­day at the Ja­maica So­ci­ety for the Blind, Old Hope Road, St An­drew.

He noted that too many blind and visu­ally im­paired Ja­maicans are dis­crim­i­nated against in the work­ing world and that this “is some­thing that we must work dili­gently to over­come”. He pointed out that less than two per cent of blind and visu­ally im­paired per­sons in Ja­maica are em­ployed, and mainly by state agen­cies.

GREATER LEV­ELS OF PRO­DUC­TIV­ITY

“I be­lieve that you are likely to get greater lev­els of pro­duc­tiv­ity out of an in­di­vid­ual who will re­main more fo­cused on their job and not be dis­tracted by other things in their en­vi­ron­ment and, there­fore, it may ac­tu­ally be an ad­van­tage,” he said. Dr Tufton said the Gov­ern­ment is committed to part­ner­ing with agen­cies to in­crease avail­abil­ity of eye-care ser­vices and pro­mote aware­ness among the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion about is­sues related to vis­ual im­pair­ment.

“We have a duty to en­sure that we take care of those who can see, those who have an im­pair­ment but can par­tially see, and those who can’t at all. We have a duty to en­sure that so­ci­ety func­tions in a man­ner that al­lows for recog­ni­tion, that al­lows re­spect and that al­lows the nor­mal func­tion­ing of in­di­vid­u­als who have to con­front this par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge,” he said.

World Sight Day, ob­served an­nu­ally on the sec­ond Thurs­day of Oc­to­ber, fo­cuses global at­ten­tion on blind­ness and vi­sion im­pair­ment. It aims to raise pub­lic aware­ness of blind­ness and vi­sion im­pair­ment as a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional pub­lic health is­sue, in­flu­ence gov­ern­ments/min­is­ters of health to par­tic­i­pate in and des­ig­nate funds for na­tional blind­ness-pre­ven­tion pro­grammes, and ed­u­cate tar­get au­di­ences about blind­ness pre­ven­tion. Ap­prox­i­mately 285 mil­lion peo­ple worldwide live with low vi­sion and blind­ness.

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