Campaign for mobile health unit underway

Published 12:15 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The 43 Lions Clubs of central and southern Virginia have formed the Virginia Lions District 24-B Mobile Health Unit Committee, Inc. with the mission of putting a mobile health unit on the road in our region. 

The mobile health unit will provide free vision and hearing screenings as well as other essential health screenings to children and adults.

The vehicle will be staffed by Lions Club members and will be driven to health fairs, schools, fairs, festivals and anywhere else that people gather. 

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There are currently four Lions Clubs mobile health units operating in the state, and they are on the road an average of 200 days per year and provide over 30,000 screenings annually. 

The Mobile Health Unit will serve the following counties: Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Caroline, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Greensville, Halifax, Hanover, Henrico, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George and the cities of Danville, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Petersburg and Richmond. 

Lions Club throughout the world have been conducting vision screenings for many years. 

Currently many of the Lions Clubs in the region screen children and adults for vision impairments.

The Mobile Health Unit will allow the Lions Clubs region to combine resources and will make it possible to screen many more children and adults than they could individually.  It will also allow them to add additional services such as hearing screenings and other essential health screenings.

Vision screening is especially critical for children, who can go many years before they, their parents or their teachers realize that there is a vision problem. 

Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children. 

Children with uncorrected vision problems often struggle to learn to read and subsequently fall behind their peers in the classroom.  This often leads to disciplinary problems in schools. 

Numerous studies have shown that 70 percent of juvenile delinquents have an undiagnosed vision problem. Some eye disorders such as amblyopia if left untreated can result in the loss of vision in the effected eye.

The typical Snellen eye chart that is used in many schools and doctors’ offices is most useful for determining near-sightedness, but it is not useful for detecting farsightedness, astigmatism or numerous other vision disorder.

Many of these issues could be prevented with a simple vision screening and a pair of eyeglasses. 

The Mobile Health Unit Committee is launching an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise money for this project. Currently the organization has $15,000 in the bank.

The goal for the Indiegogo campaign is to raise an additional $15,000. 

This money will allow Lions to obtain matching grants from the Lions of Virginia Foundation, the Lions Clubs International Foundation and other foundation sources. 

The total cost to get the bus on the road is $120,000, which includes a new fully customized 35-foot bus and all of the vision and hearing testing equipment. 

The area this vehicle will serve has a high rate of unemployment, poverty and number of uninsured residents; therefore it will meet a critical need in our region. 

To support the campaign visit: