Thursday, March 17, 2011

EYECARE IN GHANA (full article from Wikipedia)

Since the 6th of March 1957 when Ghana became an independent state a lot has been done to promote the eyecare needs of Ghanaians.
The main groups who are championing this goal now are mainly the Ghana Society of Ophthalmologist and the Ghana Optometric Association.

===Ghana Optometric Association===
The Ghana Optometric Association (GOA) is the country's governing body for the Optometry profession. Since 2009 all optometrist wanting to be members have had to write a professional exam. Successfully passing this exam gives the optometris the certification to practise in Ghana. The group has about 200 members. In 2010 the body and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Scienc and Technology's Faculty of Distance Learning<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=KNUST Inaugrates Faculty of Distance Learning - news |accessdate=2009-10-30 |publisher=Modern Ghana Media Communication Limited }}</ref>, rolled out a two year programme to offer all members of GOA who did not have the Doctor of Optometry degree to enrol for it. It is hoped that by the end of 2012 all optometrists in Ghana will have the O.D degree since this is the qualification that the Ministry of Health recognized.

==Eyecare Services==
The Ministry of Health through its hospitals and health facilities is the main provider of eyecare services in the country. Over the years it has taken various initiates to train more eyecare professionals through the vearious Universities, Teaching Hospitals, nursing training schools etc. It is its aim to ensure that there is at least one functioning eye unit in every district of the country. So far the number of facilities is woefully inadequate to serve the needs of those who need such services. The situation would have been far worse if the various eyecare facilities of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) where not functioning. Thirty-five percent of Ghana's health service provision is done by CHAG.

==Major Eye condiions in Ghana==
There are a lot of ocular conditions in Ghana and as of now virtually all conditions can be treated in the country including those that require lazer surgery. Occassionaly, though, some conditions require the individaul being taken outside the country for treatment. Below are the more common conditions in Ghana.
*[[Refractive errors]]
*[[Diabetic retinopathy]]
*[[Hypertensive retinopathy]]
*[[Bacterial infections]]
*[[Viral infections]]
*[[Agricultural injuries to the eye]]
*[[HIV/AIDS associated ocular complications]]
*[[Sickle cell retinopathies ]]
*[[Allergic conjunctivitis]]

==Challenges in Eyecare==
There are a lot of things that mitigate against the growth of eyecare sector in Ghana namely,
*Lack of personnel (about 300 eyecare professionals taking care of the needs of 23 million Ghanaians).
*Lack of funds to undertake major outreaches and screening.
*Lack of equipment and diagnostic tools in many parts of the country
*Lack of adequate eyecare education for the public
*Continual use of uncertified herbal preparations to treat conditions etc

==Ghana's Eyecare in the future==
There is a general consensus amongst Ghanaains that there is still a lot to be done to improve eyecare delivery in the country and that if drastic measures are not taken to increase the number of professionals in the field as well as fund for them to work with, Ghana's population will continue to slide even faster on the slope of limited eyecare services leading to the overall decrease in the quality of life of many individauls as well as their dependants. Becuase the statistics paints a picture of many Ghanaians seeking eye services when their conditions is beyond help, the country cannot afford to sit down for many of its citizen to pay the huge prize of blindness which could have been avoided.

==Our Plea==
Join the various governmental and non-governmental organizations by supporting them with funds and equipment to reach out to all Ghanaians so that sight which would have been lost today will be protected even in the future.

===Some group to help===
*World Vision Ghana
*The Eyecare Secretariat of Ghana
*The Ghana Optometric Association
*The Ministry of Health
*All the 160 district health facilities in the country

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