HCP’s largest partner in Ghana, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Eye Center, has been steadily expanding its outreach efforts to increase access to cataract surgery to those living in regions with no ophthalmologist. Earlier this month the KATH outreach team conducted its largest cataract campaign to date– providing 402 cataract surgeries in Keta, a coastal town 3 hours east of Accra. HCP co-founder Dr. Geoff Tabin joined the team including KATH ophthalmologists Dr. Seth Lartey, Dr. Amos Aikens, Dr. Akwasi Ahmed and many hardworking nurses and assistants who worked tirelessly for five days from 7: 30 AM to nearly midnight each night.
Dr. Tabin commented, “The quality of the surgery has been excellent with great surgical results – by far the best I’ve seen in Ghana!” There were many shining eyes and happy tears of joy on post-op day, including two women who had been blind for over 10 years, and a young 28-year old mother who hadn’t been able to see her youngest child. Tears of joy flowed watching this young mother see her child for the very first time.
HCP greatly thanks our donors for helping make these outreaches possible. With less than 70 ophthalmologists in the entire country, too many Ghanaians are without vital eye care services. These cataract outreaches help bridge the gap by provided eye health services where they are needed most.
The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Eye Center outreach team organized a cataract surgical intervention in the Brong-Ahafo region of South Ghana that screened 3,770 patients and provided 237 cataract surgeries. The clinical team included KATH's Dr. Doreen Frimpong, Dr. Amos Aikins; HCP International fellow, Dr. John Welling, and two residents, Ahmed Akwasi (3rd year) and Prince Amissah (first year). Other team members included Edgard Afour, Biostatitician and Faustina Adu-Poku, bioengineer.
Dr. Doreen Frimpong commented on social media after the event: "I am always happy when I go on an outreach doing cataract surgeries and giving sight to people. My visit to wenchi in the western region of Ghana was no exception. It was filled with emotions and excitement when a 10 year old girl haven been blind from cataract all her life saw the light of day for the first time .After asking her whether she will use her sight to watch TV, she paused and said Dr no I will be going to school so I can learn with my friends who are already in school. Immediately I was filled with joy and happiness.we were able to do this through the help of an NGO. (HCP) and Komfo Anokye teaching hospital eye center.We are greatful to them."
The KATH outreach team dramatically increased its efforts in 2015 thanks to your support, however, there is still a long way to go to alleviate unnecessary cataract blindness. It is estimated that 50,000 cataract surgeries should be performed each year to rid the backlog and keep up with new cases, however, in 2014 the Ghana Health Services only recorded 18,140 cataract surgeries in the entire country of Ghana.
The Himalayan Cataract Project's partner organization in Ghana, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) recently took part in a high volume outreach event.
At the end of August and beginning of September, two surgeons, medical staff and two nurses from KATH joined a team from the Tamale Teaching Hospital, as well as a team from the Sunyani Regional Hospital to provide treatment to patients in Kintampo, in the Brong Ahafo region. Patients from six districts (Kintampo, Central Gonjo, Pru, Wenchi, Jema, Nkranza North, and Bamboi) were screened and treated over the course of two weeks. A total of 323 surgeries were performed, including seven surgeries on young children.
The Himalayan Cataract Project's main partner in Ghana, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), has been making strides in the fight to alleviate preventable blindness. KATH has accepted four new residents. These residents will make a total of 15 who will benefit from an increased emphasis on hands-on training, including newly added surgical rotations collaborating with the country's highest performing cataract surgeons. They will also have access to state-of-the equipment that just arrived in the country.
Providing training and hands on skills transfer to local eye care professionals creates a sustainable program to ensure that patients needs are continually met
In addition to this training, a high volume cataract campaign is being planned for the week of August 24th in Kimtompo in the Brong Ahafo region 2.5 hours from Kumasi anticipating 300-500 surgeries.
Year to date, KATH has provided 760 surgeries (666 in house; 82 patients bussed in; 12 surgeries provided during an outreach).
Following a short trip in Kenya, Dr. Geoff Tabin traveled to Ghana to work with local partners in Kumasi and Accra. Dr. Tabin worked with the Eye Staff at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, KATH, to provide 107 cataract surgeries and four cornea transplants.
The team then traveled to Kwame Danso, the capital city in the Sene District of the Brong Ahafo Region (north of Kumasi) for another 109 cataract surgeries. This was the first in the region.
Dr. Tabin also brought donated cornea tissue from SightLife for Dr. James Clarke in Accra and met with Dr. Beau Wiafe and other surgeons working to eradicate unnecessary blindness in Ghana.
Meanwhile, HCP International Fellow Dr. Anya Gushchin was at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana, working with HCP partners and providing lectures on oculoplastics to ophthalmology residents.
In the year since KATH was formally inaugurated, significant progress has been made in the number of patients treated. In its first year of operation in the newly constructed facility, outpatient numbers rose by 38% and surgical numbers rose by 26.5%, making 2014 KATH’s strongest year of surgical volume.
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