Employers urged to hire more visually impaired workers
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.