The formal inauguration of the Eye Center at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana, took place on Tuesday, February 25. The event was well-attended by Ghanaian dignitaries, project partners and members of the press.
Ghana’s Minister of Health, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, saluted the various partners for their contribution to the facility and said she found it refreshing that the facility would train more eye care professionals to overcome the distribution imbalance of eye care personnel in Ghana. The country has a population of 24 million with only 74 ophthalmologists concentrated in the urban areas with an estimated 240,000 blind.
To mark the facility’s completion, KATH organized a cataract and cornea surgical workshop in the days leading up to the inauguration. KATH’s clinical team managed multiple screening events in three different districts to draw patients from nine communities. Patients were bussed to the new facility for surgery and then recovered in the new patient wards. In total, 160 cataract surgeries (including 20 patients who were bilaterally blind) and six corneal transplant surgeries were provided. With the new facility complete KATH anticipates replicating this type of outreach event at least once a month in an effort to increase patient examinations and surgical volume.
Himalayan Cataract Project International Fellow Dr. Zvi Kresch is at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi for six weeks to lecture ophthalmology residents, provide hands-on surgical training, and specific expertise in uveitis. He participated in World Sight Day activities by working at a small outreach at St. Martin’s Catholic Hospital that provided 17 cataract surgeries and by going on local radio to raise awareness about eye diseases and the efforts at KATH to address and combat those diseases.
HCP has contributed to the training of KATH clinicians, administrators and residents through follow-up visits by HCP affiliated ophthalmologists and personalized trainings. Sustainable eye care requires local staffing of ophthalmologists, eye care workers and administrators and necessitates ensuring top rate training and education at all levels. HCP trains local eye care teams with methodologies optimized for the developing world. This allows for the expansion of efficient eye care delivery, an increased number of patients treated, and an increased number of trained eye care specialists who can then train future eye care providers.
Two of the three floors at the new eye center at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana, are bustling with activity. Completing the final floor, which houses the operating theatres, is the last major construction effort required before setting a date for the formal inauguration prior to year end. The KATH outreach team recently organized a mini outreach event — sponsored by a local bank — that brought 22 patients to the eye clinic for cataract surgery.
To read an article about the opening of the new eye center from the Ghana News Agency, please follow this link: http://www.ghananewsagency.org/health/kath-s-new-eye-centre-begins-operations-62630
A two-day outreach was held in May in Agroyesum, in the Ashanti region of Ghana just outside of Kumasi. The outreach was organized by long-time HCP partner, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). Patients were screened in advance by the KATH faculty, residents and HCP international fellow, Dr. Zahra Ali. The team was joined by partners from the Moran Eye Center in Utah who make an annual visit to KATH to provide ongoing mentorship to KATH’s clinical team.
In total 50 sight-restoring cataract surgeries were provided in Agroyesum and 50 at KATH’s facility in Kumasi. The next time there is a high-volume event at KATH it will be in the eye facility that opened its doors on June 3rd. Read favorable review on the modern eye center funded by USAID, HCP and KATH from the link below.
In addition to supporting outreach events at KATH and in nearby locations, building ophthalmic capacity in Ghana is another HCP objective. There are only 50 ophthalmologists in Ghana for 23 million people. HCP is currently supporting the training of two of KATH’s faculty, Drs. Amos Aikins and Peter Armah who are receinving specialized training at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal, HCP’s flagship training facility. These doctors will take their newly learned skills and bring them back to Ghana, furthering our efforts to treating curable blindness in the Himalayas and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Eye Center at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana has been gearing up for the opening and equipping of a new three level clinic that will enable the ophthalmic staff to provide more sight-restoring surgeries at the hospital and in remote locations where patients do not have access to quality eye care. While the finishing touches are underway the outreach team is working with community planners in over 18 districts to educate and screen patients who are unaware of the services they can receive through donor support. Three outreaches are planned in the coming months. Stay tuned for more updates.
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