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12.10.2007 General News

Ministry To Make Eye Screening Part Of My First Day At School

The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, and Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs have been asked to  ensure that children undergo eye screening before they are enrolled in schools.
Such an exercise should be made part of activities marking My First Day at school programme, to ensure early detection and management of visual problems of children.
Mr James Anewenah, Country Representative of Sight Savers International, made the suggestion in a speech he read on behalf of the Swiss Red Cross, Operation Eyesight Universal, International Trachoma Initiative and Christofell Blinden Mission at the launch of 2007 World Sight Day, at Apam in the Central Regional Region.
The Day is celebrated on the second Thursday of October every year to raise awareness on visual impairment and blindness and this year's event was on the theme: 'Healthy eyes for Healthy children.'
Mr Anewenah urged children to washed their faces regularly, especially after playing to remove dust and sand particles from their eyes and to practice personal hygiene for good health.  He expressed concern about poor funding of eye care programmes in Ghana and appealed to individuals, organisations and government to donate money for such activities.
Mr Anewenah said 'As organisations that ensures good sight for people, we are committed to ensuring that no one becomes blind through avoidable, preventable and or treatable blindness by the year 2020.'
 Dr Joaquim Saweka, the WHO Representative in Ghana, in a speech read for him, said about 37 million people worldwide were blind and 124 million had poor vision and another 150 million were visually impaired due to uncorrected eye problems.  He said the number of blind people was likely to increase to 75 million by 2020 if proper interventions were not put in place.
In a speech read on behalf of  Nana Ato Arthur, Central Regional Minister, he indicated that cataract, trachoma, onchocerciasis, low vision retroactive error, childhood diseases such as measles and vitamin A deficiency were some of the notable causes of blindness.
He called on families to  take good care of blind members and not to allow them to go on the streets to beg.
Launching the day, Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, Deputy Minister for Health, said records indicated that 60 per cent of children died within one year of becoming blind and those that survived could expect to spend an average of 40 years without sight.  He said Government, supported by development partners had taken a number of interventions such as vitamin A supplementation, immunisation against measles and other childhood diseases and integrated child health campaigns to prevent blindness.
Mr Joe Kingsley Hackman, Member of Parliament for Gomoa West, called on the Ghana Education Service to ban the fixing of honeycomb-like windows to school buildings since they caused poor visibility.