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28.04.2004 Regional News

Red Cross Optical centre opens

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Sunyani (B/A) April 27, GNA - A total of 9,739 medical eye cases were recorded in nine eye clinics in Brong-Ahafo in the last quarter of last year.

Two hundred and three cataract surgeries were carried out during the period at the same clinics, Alhaji Dr Mohammed Bin Ibrahim, Regional Director of Medical Services disclosed in Sunyani on Tuesday. Speaking at the official opening of the Red Cross Optical Centre in Sunyani, he said the clinics were at Abesim, Atebubu, Drobo, Goaso, Hwidiem, Kintampo, Sampa, Sunyani and Yeji.

Alhaji Dr. Ibrahim said the Centre, built and equipped by the Swiss Red Cross and donated to Ghana Red Cross Society was estimated at 33,000 US dollars (294,400,000 cedis).

He said conjunctivitis topped the 10 diseases recorded in the clinics with 2,344 cases, followed by non-blinding cataract with 692 cases, glaucoma, 392 cases, refractive error, 371 cases, blinding cataract, 307 cases, uveitis, 244 cases and non xerotic corneal ulcer, 244 cases.

Others were minor injuries, 130 cases, corneal opacity, 112 cases, whilst 54 major injuries were recorded.

The Regional Director explained that the eye care programme had three components - the curative care, preventive services and complementary optics - recalling that since its inception in 1995 only the activities under the curative care and preventive services had been in operation in the region.

He noted that the complementary optic could not start without an optic centre and assured that the region would be provided with full component services by Wednesday, April 28.

Alhaji Dr Ibrahim said the centre would ensure sustainable, accessible and equitable delivery of quality eye care services to help in the elimination of poverty-induced blindness. He commended Swiss Red Cross, Ghana Red Cross Society and the Regional Opthalmologists for their untiring efforts towards the running of the centre.

"We should all work towards the elimination of poverty-induced blindness in Ghana as it is estimated that two-thirds of all blindness is avoidable", the Director said, adding that the nation stood to gain if enormous efforts were made to prevent and cure blindness. In a welcoming address, the regional chairman of Ghana Red Cross Society, Dr. John Ebenezer Adjei, stressed that the Ghana Red Cross Society in collaboration with the Swiss Red Cross had extended eye care services to the doorsteps of the rural folk by building and renovating eye clinics in the region.

He said all these were in line with the Government's Vision 2020 policy to bring health care delivery to the doorsteps of the ordinary Ghanaian.

The regional chairman noted that all structures in place without human resources would be a waste of the donors' hard-earned money and said the Red Cross had collaborated with GHS to train the needed manpower to man the centre.

"Ghana Red Cross with its sister society, Swiss Red Cross, have trained hundreds of eye volunteers based in various communities to identify and refer people with eye problems to the various eye centres for medical attention", he said.

Dr. Adjei appealed to traditional rulers, religious organisations, NGOs, philanthropists and civil society to donate generously in support of the humanitarian activities being offered to the nation.

In a keynote address, Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Regional Minister, cautioned the users of the facility to cultivate the habit of maintenance of the machines and the building to prolong their life span for many people to benefit from services rendered.

Nana Bosoma Asor-Nkrawiri, Omanhene of Sunyani Traditional area, who presided, in closing remarks announced that the doors of the traditional council were always opened to any organisation willing to alleviate the suffering of the people.

He later cut the tape to signify the official inauguration of the Centre. 27 April 04