Ghana risks the chance of losing a significant number of its population to preventable blindness if the necessary measures are not taken to address the causative factors.
According to the Eye Care Unit of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), an estimated 300,000 Ghanaians representing 1.07 per cent of the population are at risk of getting blind.
Already, about 207, 200 Ghanaians are blind, according to Dr. James Addy, head of the GHS Eye Care Unit. He, therefore, called on government to commit adequate funds and human resource to address the issue.
“In all this, the leading cause of blindness in our country is cataract which is affecting 111,888 people,” he said during a presentation at an event to mark the 2018 World Sight Day in Accra.
The event, which was held on the theme: ‘Eye Care Everywhere’, was used to raise public awareness on blindness and vision impairment and influence government to commit resources towards the fight against blindness in the country.
It was also used to honour individuals and institutions that have contributed significantly to fighting blindness in Ghana, with Dr. Gladys Fordjour and Mr. Prince Asenso Antwi being adjudged the national best ophthalmologist and the best optician respectively.
Dr. Addy further pointed out that Ghana has not yet attained the minimum level of human resource required in certain areas of eye care services.
“In the distribution of human resource, the Greater Accra and the Ashanti Regions consume 80 per cent of the human resource, leaving the 20 per cent for the rest of the eight regions. We must, therefore, think outside the box to make human resource accessible to the people in the eight regions,” he urged.
Dr. Addy said as part of efforts to address blindness in the country, a national cataract outreach programme was launched two weeks ago to help reduce the backlog of cataract cases in Ghana.
“We are also integrating the screening of diabetics at all the regional/teaching hospitals, diabetic clinics, by eye care professionals at the various eye clinics in the country,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of KOG Kriationz Network, a non-profit organisation focused on addressing blindness in Ghana, Mr. Eric Owusu Gyimah, indicated that since its establishment, the NGO has helped to perform 743 free eye screening and given out free spectacles in nine regions across the country.
Source: Daily Guide