Orbis Flying Eye Hospital offers specialised training to health professionals

By Eric Appah Marfo, GNA 

Accra, Nov. 14, GNA – An official ceremony
was Thursday held at the Kotoka International Airport, to kick-start a
three-week ophthalmic training project by the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital for
allied eye health professionals across the country.

At the invitation of the Ministry of Health,
the training is to strengthen the capacity of health professionals who deliver
paediatric and adult sub-specialised eye care services.

With sponsorship from Standard Chartered
bank, the project would partner the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and Komfo
Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to provide training in sub-specialty areas such
as Cataract, Surgical and Medical Retina, Paediatric Strabismus and Glaucoma to
selected ophthalmic personnel aboard the Flying Eye Hospital.

More than 100 nurses, optometrists,
biomedical engineers and anaesthetists are expected to receive training through
workshops and hands-on training, while about 60 surgeries are performed in the
Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.

Additionally, Orbis would provide continuous
education to allied health professionals and advocate for the roll-out of the
recently approved World Health Organisation’s primary eye care curriculum,
which would help strengthen the referral capacity from the district to tertiary

This is Orbis’ fourth visit to offer
specialised assistance to Ghana. The previous ones were in 1990, 2006 and 2014.

Founded in the United States city of New
York in 1982, the international non-for-profit nongovernmental organisation is
dedicated to saving sight world-wide.

The world’s only fully accredited teaching
hospital on an MD-10 aircraft, provides advance medical training to various
health care practitioners in eye care delivery and the treatment of complicated

In view of these feats, Dr Bawumia said, the
Government in December 2017, invited the Orbis to provide once again those
specialised training.

The Vice President appealed to Orbis to
provide partnership for the improvement of Ghana’s telemedicine programme and
also make the “Cybersight” one of the teaching and learning materials for
Ophthalmology Residency programmes.

Cybersight provides the global community
with learning, sharing and practice for eye health professionals.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister for
Health, stated that the Ministry prioritised eye health just as any other
aspect of health because the rate of blindness in a country could give an
indication of its level of development.

The Ministry was, however, constrained by
insufficient numbers of eye health personnel and also by some gaps in their
capacities in handling emerging eye diseases, hence the laudable intervention
of Orbis.

In October 2000, Ghana demonstrated its
commitment to prevent avoidable blindness by signing on to the global
declaration of support to VISION 2020: THE RIGHT TO SIGHT .

The Campaign was anchored on the control of
diseases that caused avoidable blindness, the development and deployment of
human resources for eye health delivery.

It also focused on the development and
strengthening of infrastructure and appropriate technology for eye health.

Ghana was also committed to achieving the
Global Goal on Health and the Action Plan (2014-2019) on Universal Eye Health.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said a National Cataract
Outreach programme had been put in place in collaboration with partners to deal
with the perennial low numbers of cataract surgeries performed.

Following its inception in September 2017,
more than 9,000 cataract surgeries had been performed as a complementary effort
to the routine cataract service delivery.

After clearing the cataract backlog to keep
pace with incidences, half of the incidence of avoidable blindness would be

Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of
Aviation, commended the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital and the sponsors for their
efforts in ‘saving the nation’s sight’.

He pledged the Aviation sector’s support to
make the project successfully.