An elderly villager undergoes a visual acuity check during the eye-screening drive, run by the SOPB at Balingian Community Hall in Mukah.

MIRI: The Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd (SOPB), through its corporate social responsibility (CSR)’s ‘Vision Care Project’, has identified 164 villagers living in areas where it operates its estates and mills, as needing prescription spectacles.

This group is from 195 villagers from nine longhouses and six villages in SOPB’s areas of operation in Balingian.

This was revealed during an eye-screening drive held by the SOPB at Balingian Community Hall in Mukah recently.

Established in 2013, the ‘Vision Care Project’ is an annual collaboration between the SOPB and the Ministry of Health, meant as a CSR engagement with the local communities and stakeholders.

Through the partnership and support from Mukah Health Office, Mukah District Council and Eyesense Optical Sdn Bhd, the programme in Balingian was designated to reach out to the folk from the longhouses and villages within and around the vicinity of the group’s areas of operations.

“It is also the intention of SOPB to lower the risks of preventable blindness, particularly among the elderly folk in rural communities, who often do not have the necessary means to obtain immediate access to medical facilities,” said SOPB in a press statement.

Apart from those who had been identified as needing spectacles, there were others who would undergo further medical review at Mukah Hospital and also at the eye clinic in Bintulu Hospital.

Penghulu Shahdan Shahari, who was also present at Balingian Community Hall, expressed his appreciation to SOPB on behalf of the villagers.

“Words could not describe our gratitude to SOPB for its generosity in providing the free eye-screening; we’re grateful that those with eyesight problems are able to get spectacles and also some who will undergo corrective surgeries, all sponsored by SOPB,” he said.

Other than the ‘Vision Care Project’, the group also runs other various CSR projects such as the annual Young Achievers Awards (YAA), Student Adoption Programme (SAP) and ‘Get Equip’d’ rehabilitation programme.

Source: The Borneo Post, 25th August 2019, Home, Page 9; Pressreader online –