Launch of a national eye screening project in Accra


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A national eye screening project to screen and treat children aged zero to five for all kinds of eye diseases has been launched in Accra.

The project, which is carried out free of charge for all children across the country, is under the auspices of the Rotary Club of Accra – The East District 9102 in partnership with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ghana.

The two-year project will identify and determine the extent of eye disease in children under five and prevent eye disease from becoming fatal.

Dr James Addy, Eye Care Manager, GHS, speaking at the launch of the project on Tuesday, said screening would be carried out in schools, child protection clinics and in communities for all children who benefited from it.

He said after screening, all identified eye problems would be referred to a tertiary health facility and treated free of charge.

Dr Addy said that although children are screened for all eye diseases, special attention would be given to retinoblastoma, an eye cancer that kills many children.

Retinoblastoma is eye cancer that starts in the retina, the tender wall inside the eye.

Retinoblastoma most often affects young children, but can rarely occur in adults.

The first clue and the most obvious symptom of retinoblastoma is that the eye does not appear straight, in particular, the black pupil may appear white.

In a photo, instead of “red eyes,” a child with retinoblastoma will have a pupil that glows white when light shines on it.

Dr Addy said the project would help improve the survival rate of children with retinoblastoma because it was treatable, manageable and curable when caught early.
“Eye screening is an effective tool, which can be used to identify eye diseases and conditions in time, most eye diseases do not cause eye pain, hence the late presentation of eye problems,” said he declared.

Mr. Fred Darko, Rotary president for Accra La East, said the project was part of the rotating clubs’ contributions to improving eye care in Ghana.

“We have observed that eye care is limited in Ghana, currently there are only about 70 ophthalmologists serving a population of around 31 million, and attention for children with eye diseases is limited. “.

Mr. Darko stressed that no parent or child would be asked to pay throughout the testing and treatment process, stating that “Rotary bears all costs and the allocated budget can serve the purpose.”

The project is funded by the Rotary Club of Accra La East, the Rotary Club of Detmold Blumberg in Germany and Rotary International at a total cost of USD 100,000.

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