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Health News of Friday, 6 October 2017


World Sight Day: Cataract, leading cause of blindness in Ghana

Cataract has been found to be the leading cause of blindness in Ghana, and authorities at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) are calling for all hands on deck to prevent this.

According to the Eye Care Unit of the Institutional Care Department of the GHS, prevalence rate of blindness in the country is at 0.74 per cent, representing 207,200, while severe visual impairment is at 1.07, representing 299,600.

With these figures, cataract is said to be leading with 54.8 per cent while glaucoma followed with 19.4 per cent; diabetic retinopathy followed with 12.3 per cent.

About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, with 39 million blind and 246 million have low vision that is severe or moderate visual impairment.

About 90 per cent of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries, and globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment.

Addressing newsmen at the a press briefing to commemorate World Sight Day, which falls on Thursday, October 12, 2017, Dr James Addy from the Eye Care Unit said, as a matter of urgency, a national outreach programme on cataract would be done to reduce the backlog of cases.

He said they would also integrate screening of diabetics at all the 10 regional diabetic clinics by the eye care professionals of the various eye clinics in the regional hospitals and also disseminate blindness survey report to all stakeholders while improving the faculty members of ophthalmic nursing school at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

He added that as of August 2017, there was a human resource gap for eye care professionals, which needs to be corrected to reach the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) figure of one ophthalmologist to 250,000 patients.

He explained that Ghana currently has 91 ophthalmologists, and would need 21 more to reach the WHO target.

This year’s World Sight Day would in held in Kumasi under the theme ‘Universal Eye Health’ - #makevisioncount.