GHANA – The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has begun a new phase of the Eye Health Services project to contribute to the reduction of blindness and eye diseases in the Northern, North East, and Savannah Regions.

This new phase of the project, which runs from now until 2024, seeks to ensure that sustainable and equitable access to eye health services for vulnerable population in the three regions is increased.

It is being implemented by the GRCS, and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in partnership with Ghana Education Service with support from the Swiss Red Cross.

Under this phase of the project, there will be training for more volunteers of the GRCS in the communities to fish out people with eye conditions, who will be referred to CHPS Compounds and health facilities in the communities as the first point of call for treatment, and be referred to higher health facilities if need be.

To this end, more nurses and health workers at CHPS Compounds and health facilities in the communities will also be trained to enhance their capacity to attend to the cases of eye conditions that will be referred to them.

This new phase of the project comes on the heels of an earlier eye care project implemented from 2018 to 2020 by the same partners where they amongst others performed a number of cataract surgeries, screened school children, and distributed free spectacles to those diagnosed with refractive errors in a bid to save their sight.

The new phase of the project is also in line with the agenda 2030, which is integrated with people-centered eye care to ensure that everybody would be counted in vision.

Mr Samuel Kofi Addo, Secretary General of GRCS, who spoke at an inception meeting for the new phase of the Eye Health Services project, said it was an expansion of, “The work that we are doing, more commitment, more community engagement and community now seeing us visible and making an impact in their lives.”

The two-day meeting, which ended in Tamale, was attended by representatives from GHS including ophthalmic nurses from health facilities in the region, and the GRCS’ district and focal persons from the regions to interrogate the project documents, go deeper into various issues that had been highlighted in the project document and then break them down into activities to implement within the period.

Mr Addo entreated volunteers of the GRCS to continue to approach their work with commitment and passion for the benefit of the vulnerable as well as the success of the project.

Dr James Addy, Head, Eye Care Unit of the GHS said the country had come a long way in addressing sight problems, however, there were still problems, “The fact is that some eye diseases have been eliminated, some brought under control but new ones are coming up. That is what we are strategising for the next 10 years in the agenda 2030, which is the vision for everyone.”

Dr Addy lauded the project and said, “We are building the systems in terms of strategies for disease control, we are building the human resources, the ophthalmologists, the ophthalmic nurses, optometrists and opticians in addition to the other health workers, who will be working at the primary health and eye care level.”

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