Work starts on $1m ultra-modern eye centre

Construction works has begun on one million dollar ultra modern Eye Centre at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).

The two-storey building with Out-Patients’ Department (OPD) facilities, three theatres, 50-bed capacity ward, and an administrative and training wing, is being funded jointly by the hospital, Himalayan Cataract Project, USAID and the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Expected to be completed within a year, the project is a “fruit” borne out of the 12 years of collaboration between KATH and the University of Utah, United States (US)

Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, was on hand to perform the ceremony to mark official commencement of work on the project.

He said this tied in with the government’s drive towards expanding specialist eye care services and training in the country to achieve the global goal of eliminating preventable blindness by 2020.

Ghana, he noted, like many developing countries continues to experience avoidable cases of blindness due to the lack of well-trained ophthalmic professionals and facilities.

Current estimates put the blind population in the country at 184,000 with 600,000 others suffering from various forms of visual impairment.

Mr Mettle-Nunoo said half of the blind cases are caused by cataract, something that could easily be rectified given the right and timely surgical intervention. “Sadly only 15 per cent of those, who need help, are getting the needed surgical services.”

He attributed this to the twin factors of inadequate ophthalmologists and their over concentration in Accra and few urban centres.

He said it was, therefore, heart-warming that the centre would help expand specialist eye care services not only in Ashanti but the whole of the northern sector.

Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu, Ashanti Regional Minister, said the situation where only six ophthalmologists are catering for the Region’s population of 4.2 million gives cause for serious concern.

This is undermining the ability of the KATH Eye Clinic to provide service to numerous patients who visit the facility.

Professor Ohene Adjei, KATH’s Chief Executive, renewed the appeal for the release of the adjoining military land to the facility to help expand, modernize and decongest the hospital.

Source: GNA

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