Dr. Samuel Kaba Akonyea(right) presenting a plaque to Dr. Gladys Fordjour(left),Consultant Ophthamologaist.
A total of 207,200 Ghanaians are completely blind, Dr Samuel Kaba Akoriyea, Director, Institutional Care Division at the Ghana Health Service(GHS) has disclosed.
According to him, an estimated number of 299,600 Ghanaians were seriously sick with visual impairment.
At a media forum to mark this year’s World Sight Day under the theme, “Eye Care Everywhere, Dr Akoriyea said the survey conducted by the GHS identified cataract as the leading cause of blindness affecting 111,888 Ghanaians.
Organised by Kriationz Network, a non-profit making organisation, the day is celebrated annually to raise public awareness on blindness and vision impairment as major public health issue and educate target audiences about blindness prevention.
Dr Akoriyea said, since the eye was an important organ of the human body, people must make an effort to protect it.
He also warned the public to avoid smoking, self-medication and exposing the eye to direct sun rays because those practices could be detrimental to their vision.
He mentioned traditional beliefs and superstition as some of the reasons why people with various forms of eye diseases refuse to use spectacles.
In an attempt to address this menace, Dr Akoriyea said, the national cataract outreach programme had been launched aimed at performing cataract surgeries for free.
“We, therefore, urge all those in need to attend without any financial worries” he added.
He said Ghana had more than 1,000 eye care professionals, adding that although the number was grossly inadequate, people could still take advantage to protect their sight.
Dr Akonyea called for all stakeholders to come together to reduce the burden of blindness in the country.
Mr Eric Owusu Gyimah, the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation also urged Ghanaians to regularly check their eyes.
He said many people feared to go through operations to have their eye defects corrected and would only avail themselves for the surgery when the situation got worse.
“Long term continuity of care is an essential element of treatment for any eye condition and this requires regular follow up supported by other specialists, who may be needed” he said.
Mr Owusu Gyimah called on organisations to conduct consistent eye screening exercises for their workers.
In related development, awards were presented to eye specialists and ophthalmologist, optometrists and opticians for their contribution to eye care in the country.
By BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY
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