Himalayan Cataract Project co-founder, Dr. Geoff Tabin traveled to Ghana in mid-December to work with local partners in Kumasi and Accra.
Dr. Tabin worked with the Eye Staff at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, KATH, including the head of the Eye Unit, Dr. Seth Lartey, to provide 107 cataract surgeries and 4 cornea transplants. Dr. Tabin also provided surgical training to the team.
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, provided over the course of four days. This was the first outreach in the region.
Dr. Tabin also brought donated cornea tissue from SightLife for Dr. James Clarke, an ophthalmologist in Accra, to provide cornea transplants. A cornea transplant replaces diseased or scarred corneal tissue with healthy tissue from an organ donor.
The cornerstone of Himalayan Cataract Project's work is in the teaching of local doctors and eye care professionals. In order to create a sustainable eye care system, top rate training of doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators is essential.
Dr. Joyce Maaweh, a third year Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) ophthalmology resident, traveled north to Tamale for hands-on surgical training with Dr. Judith Simon, Tamale Teaching Hospital’s Chief Ophthalmologist.
Dr. Maaweh also participated in an outreach cataract surgical event in a nearby town that provided 100 surgeries in four days — 20 of which Dr. Maaweh performed independently. As part of the Himalayan Cataract Project's commitment to enhancing the KATH residency training program and to attracting more Ghanaian doctors to ophthalmology, HCP will support six-week rotations for KATH residents at the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
During late May, a six-day surgical visit to HCP's partner in Kumasi, Ghana, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, KATH, provided 130 life changing eye surgeries - including 50 pediatric cases. The KATH Eye Center has increased its outreach and care since the February inauguration of the new surgical facility that has three dedicated operating rooms for eye surgery. KATH is the second largest hospital in Ghana and is a referral center for the Ashanti region and also treats patients from Burkina Faso, Cote D'Ivoire and the Republic of Togo. Partners from the University of Utah's John A. Moran Eye Center, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College collaborated last month to provide ongoing mentorship to KATH's ophthalmic staff comprised of seven ophthalmologists, four ophthalmology residents, nurses and medical students.The KATH Eye Center has specialists in cornea, glaucoma, pediatrics, retina and oculoplastics. With HCP donor support, KATH performs routine screenings of patients in the surrounding regions to either provide care on site or refer to KATH.
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.
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