Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (first left) descending the Orbis flying eye hospital after a tour with dignitaries.
Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, the world’s only accredited flying teaching hospital, has arrived in Ghana to provide training for eyecare specialists.
In the next three weeks, the MD-10 aircraft hospital would train Ghanaian specialists in sub-specialised eye care services such as paediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma and cataract surgery, strabismus, oculo-plastics and retinal surgery.
The intervention by the ORBIS team is based on the invitation of the Ghanaian government to boost the nation’s capability in managing eye health.
It is also in line with achieving the WHO vision 2020 goal which encourages member countries to eliminate the main causes of all preventable and treatable blindness as a public health issue.
The team would partner two hospitals; the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions respectively, involving nurses, optometrists, biomedical engineers and anaesthetists.
At a ceremony in Accra, the Vice President, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia in a speech read on his behalf, recounted the long standing relationship between ORBIS and Ghana in the area of eye care particularly trainings.
He said over the years ORBIS has provided hands on training to staff of hospitals and the use of tele-medicine platform and cyber-sights.
“Cybersight offers an online training and remote surgical mentorship opportunities which provides global communities with learning, sharing and practices for eye health professionals,” he said.
The Vice President further expressed government commitment to advancing eye care in the country hoping for “Orbis’ intervention in other areas for comprehensive development in eye health.”
“We are looking forward to nurturing and growing the partnership and providing the relevant support to ensure a successful long-term partnership that will be mutually beneficial to Ghana and to Orbis,” Dr Bawumia noted.
Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Ofosu noted that armed with a current baseline of the trend of eye diseases in the country, the service was poised to develop effective strategies and cost effective interventions to promote quality eye care services.
He mentioned among others that a national cataract outreach programme had been put in place to deal with perennial low numbers of cataract surgeries in the country while a framework for diabetic retinopathy service is being developed to put systems of care in place to ensure that the retina of people with diabetes are well checked anytime they visit an eye care centre.
Dr Ofosu submitted that Orbis in partnership with GHS would focus attention subsequently on child eye health services “to establish and develop comprehensive paediatric eye care services as none currently exists.”
“The specific goal of this intervention will focus on the primary level and at district hospitals to increase uptake of eye health services by children in four districts; Afigya Kwabre, Atwima Kwanwoma, Bosomtwe and Ejisu in the Ashanti Region through multiple interventions,” he stated.
Dr Hunter Cherwek, Vice President, Clinical Services with ORBIS, applauded Ghana for taking bold steps to improve eye care assuring that his outfit was ready to apply technology and innovation to equip specialists to deliver proper care to patients.
The Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda, called for partnership with the health sector to expand medical services in the aviation industry.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri