The Blindness and Deafness Prevention Capacity Building Training for Mountain Province Health Scouts at the Treasure Link Multi-Purpose Hall, Sagada, Mt. Province on October 15-16, 2016 proved to be a success as sixty-seven (67) delegates from five municipalities braved the storm to participate.

The activity materialized through the joint effort of the Mt. Province Provincial Health Office, Treasure Link Cooperative Society, Dizon Vision Clinic, Luke Foundation and the National Conciliation and Mediation Board-CAR. It came about to engage the health scouts in capacity building activities to prevent vision and hearing impairments.

Modules on Primary Eye Care, Error of Refraction and Eye Screening and Primary Ear Care were included in the session.  Sensitivity workshop and blind walk were also conducted for the trainees to experience moving around without their sight.  Also embedded was a day of on-the job training where the scouts did eye screening of senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Health Scouts are secondary school students trained to be models and advocates of health.  Their foundation was based on the indigenous culture of older siblings taking care of younger ones. Life skills were inculcated so they can do peer education and prevent vices, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse.  They are voluntary health workers in schools as barangay health workers are in the community.  Over all, these students were prepared to do service and become responsible citizens.

In her message, Ms. Prima Te-elan of the Provincial Health Office, hailed the young scouts of their energy and enthusiasm in preserving the cultural value of taking care of one’s siblings.  She further encouraged them to volunteer and treat the community members as their own thus fostering the value of care and paying forward to one’s village or commune.

The Mt. Province Health Scouts was established through the initiative of Dr. Penelope A. Damogoin 1991.  It catered to Bontoc just then and went province wide in 2003. Having adjudged as the only health scout recognized by the National Government, it was created to help in addressing some of the health concerns of their peers and other members of the community.

Lyla Jane B. Tacio