More than 130 persons from three communities in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region have undergone free eye screening for various diseases.
Out of the number of residents screened, 26 were from Kasiesa, 67 from Naadema and 38 from Buterisa.
Mr Desmond Yaani, an Ophthalmic Nurse at the Fumbisi Health Centre, who organised the screening exercise, told the Ghana News Agency that the initiative was to help eliminate the main causes of preventable and treatable blindness, especially in the rural areas.
He said the area was an Onchocerciasis zone and called for support to extend such services to the other communities across the District.
He said screening exercise was to provide quality eye care services to residents in the selected communities and to detect common eye conditions for early intervention.
“In my practice as an Ophthalmic Nurse in this District, I have observed that most residents pay little or no attention to the health care needs of their eyes until they find them in the worst state. This attitude affects treatment and management of eye cases,” he said.
He said some residents reported to the Eye Unit with foreign bodies in their eyes, stick pricks, trauma, cataracts, pterygia, pinguecula, corneal ulcers, neonatal Ophthalmia, bacterial conjunctivitis, presbyopia, glaucoma among others.
Mr Yaani said most of the community members did not know much about eye care.
“I took up this initiative and with my resources, I collaborated with staff of the Kasiesa, Naadema and Buterisa Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds to organise the free screening exercise for the community members and staff,” he said.
Mr Yaani, who is also the District Chairman of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA), schooled members of the public after the screening exercise on some common conditions of the eye.
He appealed to health centred Non-Governmental Organisations to collaborate and support the District Health Directorate to organise such screening programmes in the District.
He advocated intensive education programmes in schools within the District through the Health Centres to raise awareness on the need for eye care.
He also called on members of the public to pay critical attention to their eyes and encouraged them to seek early treatment and not wait until their eyes are in the worst state before they visit the Eye Unit.
Mr Yaani expressed gratitude to the Builsa South District Director of the Ghana Health Service, opinion leaders, staff of the Fumbisi Health Centre and the Kasiesa, Naadema and Buterisa CHPS compounds for the opportunity and giving priority to eye care services.
Mr Musah Kobina, a 50-year- old man from Kasiesa and Madam Ampani Amwanzemi, 74 years old from Naadema who both benefitted from the exercise, said their ages made it difficult for them to travel for eye care services.
They said the outreach programme was helpful to them.
Mr Kobina, who after the screening was found to have a cataract, said “I thought I was blind forever but with this screening and the explanation the Eye Nurse gave, with surgery I would be able to see. I am happy he was not waiting for us to come to him but rather he came to us. I hope that he gets the needed support to spread it across the entire District.”