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05.03.2009 Health

New Vision organizes free eye care at Ho

By Samuel Agbewode, Ho - Ghanaian Chronicle

An eye-care centre based in Tema, New Vision Optical and Eye Care Centre, has extended its activities to the Ho Municipality, to help address the eye-related problems of the people at very affordable cost.

The one week programme, in the form of a door-to door medical service, made it possible for the people to freely assess the condition of their sight, and formed part of an outreach programme to create awareness about the importance of knowing the healthy state of the eyes.

The Managing Director of New Vision Optical and Eye Care Centre, Dr. Daniel Gbetodedeme, who spoke to the Volta File during the screening exercise, noted that it was unfortunate that many people did not value the importance of their eyes, therefore they failed to seek the necessary medical assistance.

Dr. Gbetodedeme, an Optometrist, disclosed that more than two hundred people had their eyes examined within the two days work in the municipality, and estimated that at the end of the week, when the exercise would come to an end, more than one thousand people would have benefited from the medical outreach programme.

The medical doctor disclosed that eye-related illnesses such as glaucoma, cataract and sight defects, including myopia, with glaucoma being the common eye disease in the area were diagnosed, noting that those whose conditions were not serious were treated, while those with glaucoma and cataract were referred to the hospital, as well as eye glasses being given to those who needed it.

Dr. Gbetodedeme said his outfit would organise the outreach programme regularly, to ensure that those who could not afford to visit the hospitals would be taken care of, adding that people should take regular check-ups of their eyes seriously, because it was the key to any human activity, and if steps were not taken to ensure that their eyes were in good conditions, it would affect productivity, as the affected people could no longer embark seriously on their economic activities.

He observed that one of the major things that people could do to create wealth for themselves, was to adopt to sound health practices that would keep them in good health, adding that with perfect conditions of health, the individual could work hard to improve on his standard of living, and urged all to change their attitude towards their health needs.

Some of the beneficiaries, who expressed their views about the exercise, commended the staff and management of the New Vision Optical and Eye Care Centre for their vision, which had made them know the health status of their eyes. According to some of the beneficiaries, they did not think that they would have any eye problems, but just decided to go for the screening, only to be diagnosed as having an eye-related illness.

In a related development, the management of the Ho Municipal Health Insurance Scheme has also embarked on educational programme, to create awareness on the need for the people in the area to adhere to preventive healthcare practices, because the management of the scheme wanted to ensure that more people understand the importance of being in good health, which was key to productivity.

The Public Relations Officer of the Scheme, Mr. Mawuko Tsigbey, said the management wanted to inculcate in the people, through regular education, that the scheme was not meant for only curative care, but members of the scheme could use their ID cards to check on their health status regularly, in order not to fall sick.

Mr. Tsigbey disclosed that an outreach programme the scheme organised recently revealed that most people failed to find out their health conditions, as tests conducted by medical officers from Ho and Accra showed that most of the people were sick, but they did not know, just because the sickness was hidden and had not revealed itself.

He pointed out that about sixty per cent of the people who benefited, were suffering from hypertension, diabetes and other diseases, noting that it would be in the interest of the scheme, as well as the individual, to be healthy than to fall sick and visit the hospital regularly.

The Public Relations Officer of the Ho Scheme said very soon the scheme would extend its educational activities to educational institutions, organisations and other social groups, where they would be engaged in health talks, health walks, football and other games that would keep the people healthy at all times.

Mr. Tsigbey said plans were far advanced to introduce the new electronic ID card that would be acceptable across the country to clients, so that they could assess healthcare anywhere they found themselves, and reminded the people that the ID cards were not to be used only when they fall sick, but should also be used to regularly check on their health status.

He gave the assurance that those who had not registered under the scheme should do so, because the management of the scheme had introduced a high level of information technology and communication system, by the use of searchlight ditch, which ensured the fast processing of individual particulars.

Mr. Tsigbey said so far the scheme had installed ten searchlight ditches in the municipality, for quick service delivery. The Scheme Manager of the Ho Insurance Scheme, Mr. Kofi Pi-Bansah, also advised the people to support the scheme by taking good care of their environment, as well as adopt other hygienic practices that would prevent them from falling sick.

He urged health practitioners to intensify education on preventive health, such as encouraging people to join keep fit clubs and eat balanced diets.