A R1million mobile clinic is set to crisscross KwaZulu-Natal's remote areas offering a free service to those suffering from visual impairment and to help reduce blindness.
The project is a joint initiative involving the Vodacom Foundation and Mercedes-Benz South Africa. This private sector initiative is in conjunction with the provincial health department and will address the problem of cataracts, glaucoma and refractive errors that cause many people to lose their sight.
The mobile eye care clinic was handed to KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo in Durban yesterday.
"The department of health will provide the clinic with experienced optometrists and health staff who will travel from village to village offering the service to communities.
"This clinic will help identify problems before they reach an advanced stage and help prevent blindness," Dhlomo said.
He said the initiative was a milestone for rural communities.
Lindiwe Biyela, a cleaner at Mercedes and originally from Empangeni, was the first to have her eyes tested.
"I'm very excited by this mobile clinic because it will change the lives of many people in rural areas," she said.
The donation covers the cost of the vehicle equipment consisting of a lamp, a camera, an ophthalmoscope and a retinoscope, a vision chart, an air puff and a set of lenses.