Our main achievement this during 2010-2011 has been the opening of Korle-Bu Optical Services, a Vision Centre stocking affordable glasses within the main teaching hospital in Accra. This provides employment for three local people and within a month of opening, it was providing 20 pairs of glasses a week, a number that is steadily growing. It also provides an income stream that will be used to support a surgical training programme to be launched in 2012 by Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Vision Aid Overseas continues to work closely with the students and staff of Ghana’s principal optometry department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi (KNUST).
Two teams of Vision Aid Overseas volunteers visited Kumasi this year, each for a two week period. A week was spent giving lectures and tutorials in practical subjects to build upon the students’ theoretical knowledge, and the second week was spent on outreach in villages in the Ashanti region. The undergraduates worked alongside Vision Aid Overseas volunteers, and learnt valuable skills whilst providing eye examinations and spectacles for the rural population.
Whilst there are two optometry schools in Ghana providing a steady output of graduates, according to the Ghana Eye Foundation over 85 per cent of optometrists are based in the urban centres and therefore their services are not available to many rural areas. Links have been made this year with the Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative, a member of Fairtrade Africa, and a programme is being developed to deliver eye care services to their members, and train village health care workers in primary level vision screening and provision of near-work glasses.
During 2010-2011, Vision Aid Overseas saw 762 patients and supported the training of over 50 students.