Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama last Monday called for collaboration between Operation Eyesight Universal, a Canadian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and local health professionals to offer training to Ophthalmologists and Ophthalmic Nurses to support the National Eye Health Programme.
He said continued medical education for eye care professionals, public education and awareness building and technical assistance could improve access to quality eye care services. "To this end, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies as well as Community Based Organisations should be able to identify local leaders to serve as rallying points at the grassroots, " he added.
Alhaji Mahama made the call in an address read on his behalf by Mr Anthony Evans Amoah, Western Regional Minister, at the opening session of the First African Partners Networking Workshop of Operation Eyesight Universal at Busua near Takoradi.
Eye specialists from Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Australia, Canada, Kenya and India are attending the four-day workshop, which is under the theme "Entrenching Excellence In Eye Care in Africa".
Alhaji Mahama said the local leaders could also act as vanguards to champion the communities in the fight against blindness. Alhaji Mahama said such community leaders should be selfless and be motivated by fellow feeling and willingness to serve humanity without any consideration.
He noted that delivery of eye care services in Ghana and most African countries was faced with many challenges including inadequate human resources to deliver eye care services, inadequate distribution of eye care service providers and provision of eye care services.
Mr Kwesi Blay, Deputy Western Regional Minister, said the importance of activities leading to the avoidance of blindness had been adequately captured in the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).
Dr Pat Ferguson, President of Operation Eyesight Universal, said the organisation was fully committed to reducing blindness and other eye diseases in Africa.