Inadequate trained personnel is denying many Ghanaians access to specialized eye care services in public hospitals.

Out of over 45,000 patients who require cataract surgery annually, only about 20,000 get treatment.

Head of Eye Care Unit at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Oscar Debrah, said this at the inauguration of a new eye center for the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

Ghana is struggling to keep to the provisions of the Vision 2020 which targets to eliminate all avoidable causes of blindness.

Disease control, human resource development as well as infrastructure and equipment expansion are pillars of the programme.

The picture however looks uncertain with many challenges, especially, human resource availability.

The Upper West Region, for instance, has no ophthalmologist as majority of the country’s seventy-four specialists in the field work in Accra and Kumasi.

Dr. Debrah wants special attention, including National Health Insurance coverage for treatment of eye diseases like cataract and glaucoma whose global prevalence put Ghana on top.

Health experts say many Ghanaians are not aware they have Glaucoma.

Dr Debrah wants Ghanaians to pay attention to their health needs, with at least an eye check-up once every year.

“Unfortunately many of us who have glaucoma are not even aware because it does not make your eye painful and therefore most of us are not aware until we become blind”. Dr Debrah said.

"And unfortunately, one of the drugs that we use to treat Glaucoma in Ghana is very expensive. A bottle of 2.5 ml these days are selling for over Gh¢60.

"If you have Glaucoma, you would have to put the drugs in your eyes for the rest of your life. How many of our people can afford to buy the drugs sixty cedis  each month and we’ve made appeal to the National Health Insurance Authority to see if they can put these drugs on National Health Insurance”. Dr. Debrah complained.

Meanwhile, Health Minister, Sherry Ayittey, says the Ministry is proposing discussions with the Pharmacy Council to address drug price hikes.

 

 

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