The Ghana Health Service in collaboration with partners has launched the 2022 National World Sight Day in Accra on the theme “Love Your Eyes”. The program brought stakeholders together to create awareness on the need for quality eye health and ways to improve eye health. World Sight Day serves as a collective opportunity to focus attention on eye health as a global issue. The Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October.

The Acting Director of the Institutional Care Division of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Lawrence Ofori Boadu, in an address read on behalf of the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, remarked that it was important to ensure that good eye health is accessible, available, and affordable to everyone. He urged participants to support the objectives of the launch and be worthy advocates for quality eye health.

The Head of the Eye Care Unit, Dr. Hornametor Afake in a presentation noted that the Day serves as an opportunity to educate the public on the effects of health issues to enable people to prioritize their eye health and take the necessary steps to achieve it. He called on stakeholders to make eye care and rehabilitation services accessible, inclusive, and affordable for all. In his presentation, he noted that at least 2.2 billion people globally have a near or distance vision impairment with over a 90million accounting for children and adolescents. Dr. Afake also mentioned that 0.74% of Ghanaians were blind while 1.07% had severe visual impairment. Some of the principal causes of blindness he cited include cataracts, glaucoma, posterior segment, and cornea opacity. Further, the Head of the Eye Care Unit noted that some strategies had been put in place to prevent blindness and these include a national screening of children for retinoblastoma, national immunization programs, and training of primary eye care workers and volunteers. It was revealed that the Ghana Health Service, in collaboration with partners, put in place a National Cataract Outreach Programme (NCOP) in September 2018 to augment efforts aimed at improving the provision of cataract surgeries, especially to the underserved and reducing the backlog of cataract surgeries in Ghana. Dr. Afake indicated that the Eye Care Unit coordinates surgical outreaches under the National Cataract Outreach Programme where over 7,000 surgeries were performed in the first half of 2022.

During the launch, International Non-Governmental Organisations that have supported the health service in efforts to improve quality eye health were awarded for their dedication and commitment to improving quality eye health in the country.

Also, as part of activities to launch the World Sight Day, an eye screening exercise was held for students of the Osu Presby Girls Basic school, workers at the Accra Tema Station, and staff of the Ghana Health Service.

SOURCE: PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT, GHS