The Director of Institutional Care Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Samuel Kaba Akoriyea has disclosed that over three hundred thousand (300,000) Ghanaians risk losing their sight.
He said that this figure is entirely different from the 200,000 that have already gone totally blind in the country.
Speaking at the official launch of the National Cataract Outreach Programme (NACOP), Dr. Akoriyea revealed that cataract is the leading cause of the blindness.
At the ceremony launching the NACOP on September 17,2018, he said, “There’s no need for our countrymen and women to go blind with cataract. That’s why this programme has been put in place to screen people, diagnose them and perform surgeries to restore their lives”.
“If funds come for us to undertake the outreach and for eight weeks the funds will be sitting at the headquarters and do not go to the institutions where we need to do the surgeries it demoralizes everybody,” he added.
The prevalence rate of blindness in the country is at 7.4 per thousand, representing 207,200 people living with total blindness while severe visual impairment is 10.7 per thousand representing 299,600 people currently living with visual impairment in Ghana.
Dr. Akoriyea also said, “the message should go that the funds come so that patients will access to cataract surgeries and if for eight weeks or nine weeks we can’t send the monies from just Accra to maybe Brekum, Amasaman, I in particular will be very sad, and I think that we need to speed up processes so that we can continue to deliver the services”.
About 40,000 cataract surgeries are required to be conducted yearly among Ghanaians. According to the Head of the Eye Care Unit of the GHS Dr James Addy said that Ghana is about 15,000 to 16,000 cataract surgeries far below the set target due to many challenges.