The need for child eye health services in Ghana is immense. It is estimated that more than 9 000 children are blind, between 50 to 70 percent of the cases being avoidable. Unfortunately, children are not accessing services early enough to avoid going blind. There are only four trained paediatric ophthalmologists in the country; two at our partner facility, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), and two at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. A paediatric ophthalmology training course was recently established, however it cannot be completed without external support, and paediatric anaesthesia training remains unavailable. There is also a severe lack of awareness of eye-health conditions at a community level and eye health is not integrated into the primary healthcare system.
• Orbis Africa and our partners created a programme to contribute to the reduction of childhood blindness and visual impairment by training ophthalmologists in child eye care.
• Orbis is carrying out research to inform programme delivery approaches, particularly around quality of services, health-seeking behaviour and the mobilisation of patients to access services in targeted project areas.
• Orbis Africa is working to procure necessary equipment and supplies identified to develop sustainable eye care services.
• We advocate at the national, regional and local level to raise awareness around the importance of child eye health.
• We are strengthening services at the district level and improving the referral system for children.
• In 2017 Orbis focused its advocacy efforts on engaging with Hospital Management Information Systems (HMIS) at a national level and supporting their roll out of a national HMIS system
• We are building the technical capacity and skills at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to treat paediatric health conditions at the tertiary level.
• Orbis Africa is implementing four key interventions at community, primary and district levels of the health and education system to integrate eye health into the health system and drive demand for eye health services:
– Working with Queen Mothers at the community level to improve awareness of eye health conditions and services available.
– Integrate eye health into the primary health services through the training of Community Health Officers to identify, treat and refer children with eye health conditions.
– Strengthening the capacity of district hospitals to treat and refer children with eye health conditions appropriately.
– Ensure school children are screened for refractive error and receive the spectacles they need.
SUCCESS IN GHANA
• Ghana’s Minister of Health inaugurated a new building (funded by USAID), which houses the eye department.
• We improved the capacity of KATH in terms of skills, equipment and supplies to provide specialised services to children in key areas, ensured a well-equipped paediatric eye unit, and have seen an increase of 51% in the number of children accessing surgery at KATH.
• Orbis Africa developed a programme to integrate eye health across the eye-health system, drive demand and improve access.
• We developed a curriculum to train Community Health Officers, Queen Mothers, School Health Programme Coordinators (school screening), and trained eight ophthalmic nurses to roll out this curriculum.
Read our latest success story from Ghana here: My Time In Ghana.
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