The University of Cape Coast Department of Optometry in collaboration with Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) has organised an eye screening exercise for four communities in the Central Region.
Residents of Abakrampa, Komenda, Jukwa and Esuekyir benefitted from the screening exercises. The team screened more than 2, 000 residents from these communities for various eye diseases. Some were presented with spectacles whilst those with serious eye defects such as cataract and glaucoma were referred to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital for further examinations and treatment.
In an interview with the Head of Department of Optometry, Dr. Emmanuel Kwasi Abu, said the outreach programme formed part of the collaboration between UCC and VAO. He said the University through the Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) three years ago to work with VAO through outreach programmes, training and exchange of both staff and students.
Dr. Abu said for the past two years, the organisation had been sending volunteers from the United Kingdom to join faculty and students of the Department to conduct outreach programmes in some communities in the Central Region. “These volunteers are specialists in the field of Optometry and Ophthalmology who come to UCC to share their expertise with us and also join our team for the outreach programmes” he explained.
Dr. Abu noted that VAO was a Non-Governmental Organisation based in the United Kingdom with the mission of eradicating poverty through providing access to eye care services in developing countries. He explained that the organisation had been training health professionals in Ghana and countries where they operate.
On her part, the Leader of the VAO team, Dr. Ruth Davies, said they were pleased to be working with faculty and students of UCC. “We have come to offer our services and experiences but we have also learnt some techniques from our UCC partners,” she said. She noted that the practice of Optometry in Ghana was similar to the UK. She called on people to visit the hospital regularly to examine their eyes since cataract and glaucoma were the dominant eye diseases they detected through the screening.
The Assembly member for the Esuekyir Electoral Area, Mr. Vincent Woode, was elated for the professional manner in which they were offering the free eye screening. “A woman who was just screened told me that she has been referred to Cape Coast Teaching Hospital for treatment and this shows that they are professionals”, he added.
Mr. Woode appealed to the University and VAO to make the screening exercise a yearly affair since residents and traditional leaders were appreciative of the services rendered to them.