Ghana commemorates World Glaucoma Week

By Grace Acheampong, ISD || Contributor
Health Ghana commemorates World Glaucoma Week
MAR 15, 2024 LISTEN

The Ministry of Health (MoH), Glaucoma Patient Association of Ghana and Ophthalmological Society of Ghana have commemorated the World Glaucoma Week on the theme "Uniting for A Glaucoma Free World" today in Accra.

In a speech read on behalf of the Caretaker Minister, Madam Ursula Owusu said the glaucoma week celebration presents a crucial opportunity to raise awareness on risk factors, symptoms and importance of early screening for glaucoma in Ghana.

She hinted that over 700,000 people are affected by glaucoma in Ghana and a leading cause of irreversible blindness, yet it often goes undetected until it's too late.

She said MoH is committed to raise awareness about this debilitating disease and ensure that everyone has access to early detection and treatment adding that by promoting early detection and timely intervention.

“We must work together to educate our communities about the importance of regular eye exams, especially for those at higher risk of developing glaucoma. By promoting early detection and timely intervention, we can prevent unnecessary vision loss and improve the quality of life for those affected by this condition,” she emphasised.

She called upon healthcare providers, development partners, advocates for eye health and all other stakeholders to join hands in the fight against glaucoma.

“Let us collaborate on innovative solutions, invest in research, and advocate for policies that prioritise eye health. Together, we can make a difference and create a world where glaucoma is no longer a threat to our vision,” she added.

Nana Agyeman Konadu Rawlings, the Patron of Glaucoma Patient Association of Ghana and Formal First Lady said glaucoma affects millions worldwide, yet awareness and early detection remain paramount in mitigating its impact.

“Through our unified efforts, we can empower individuals with knowledge about glaucoma, promote regular eye screenings, and advocate for accessible and effective treatments,” she said.

“Let us amplify our voices and mobilize resources towards eradicating glaucoma to ensure a brighter future for all and enjoy a life free from the constraints of this silent thief of sight.

Together, we can make a meaningful difference and create a world where no one lives in fear of losing their vision,” she added.

On his part, the Chairman, Glaucoma Working Group of Ophthalmological Society of Ghana (OSG), Dr Charles Mensah Cofie said the World Glaucoma Week is a global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) to raise awareness about Glaucoma, adding that the final goal is to alert everyone to have regular eye checks for early detection.

He added that although there cannot be a glaucoma-free world but there can be a reduction of the incidence of glaucoma blindness.

He encouraged hospitals and clinics to do more free screening monthly or quarterly.

The President of the Glaucoma Patient Association of Ghana, Pharm Harrison Kofi Abutiae pleaded for financial and material support from NGOS, public and corporate organisations in the awareness creation for glaucoma, since most workers have eye problems including glaucoma, an optic nerve degeneration disease which if not detected early and controlled, will lead to irreversible blindness.

“We are worried about the taxes on eye medicines and equipment which make treatment expensive to our members,” he added.