Waterville Lions Club sponsors health screening visits

By Suzanne Robinson
Empire Press Correspondent

The Northwest Lions Foundation Health Screening Unit visited Waterville and Orondo schools on Sept. 25, providing hearing and vision evaluations for students. The visits were sponsored by the Waterville Lions Club.

The health screening project, started in 1997 by the Northwest Lions Foundation, helps Lions Clubs and other service organizations restore sight and hearing in communities. The 62-foot-long, medically-equipped unit travels throughout the state and Northern Idaho to give free health screenings at schools, fairs and other public events, according to the foundation’s website.

Clubs apply annually to be selected for this service and, if chosen, they pay a fee to have the unit visit a location.

Early childhood is the most critical period of development for vision. When a child reaches the age of 9 or 10, vision is developed. Early screening helps prevent blindness and permanent impairment from most eye diseases.

Only 11 percent of children with hearing loss think they have trouble hearing. The service also assists school nurses with state requirements for student health screening.

The Health Screening Unit is staffed by volunteers, usually Lions members, and health professionals.

The foundation’s goal is to speed early detection of health problems through screenings so corrective assessment and intervention steps can be taken immediately.

Preventative care is the foundation of a healthy community but is a luxury for too many people who don’t have access to a physician, means to pay for care, or a way to travel to get that care, according to Lions Club officials.