Blindness in Ghana
Ghana is a country in western Africa, with a history that stretches back to the 9th century. It boasts a colorful, dynamic culture, and many different native ethnic groups and languages. Although the country’s government guarantees basic health care to Ghanaian nationals, it has traditionally struggled to provide consistent service to all citizens. Urban centers typically have better access than rural areas, which sometimes have no access at all. An estimated 40% of the country’s population has little to no access to eye care.
As a result, over 200,000 individuals in Ghana are blind. Over half of these cases are due to cataracts, and another fifth due to glaucoma. These conditions are, in many cases, preventable. However, with over a quarter of the population living over ten miles away from the nearest doctor, and limited options for transportation, many Ghanaians will never get their eyes checked.
The Ophthalmologist Society of Ghana has also recently raised concerns about the increasing prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and blindness due to a rise in the number of people with diabetes in the country.
SEE in Ghana
Every year, SEE teams collaborate with Dr. Thomas Baah at his clinic, Save the Nation’s Sight, to provide free cataract surgeries to people in the region. Additionally, SEE provides support for Dr. Baah to train visiting doctors in the Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery technique, a procedure that is less invasive and takes half the amount of time as older methods, allowing surgeons to restore sight to a greater number of people both in Ghana and worldwide.
In 2017, SEE began working with the Himalayan Cataract Project by providing equipment to be used in Accra at the Crystal Eye Clinic with Dr. James Clark. Through this partnership, the clinic will be able to provide higher quality eye care to many more patients each year.