New eye health facility serves millions in Ghana
Watborg Eye Services
Central Region and Satellite Eye Unit Project, Western Region
Building continued even on the day of the grand opening of the new facility
Ghana in West Africa is a beautiful country of plains and low plateaus covered in savannah and rainforests. Its beauty, like so many sub-Saharan countries, is marred somewhat by the reality of its living conditions. Of its 24 million inhabitants, more than 200,000 are blind, most from avoidable causes. A significant percentage of its people struggle to meet their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing.
Operation Eyesight has chosen to work in this country because the need is great, and because of the leadership of one of Africa's leading ophthalmologists, Dr. Boateng Wiafe, who serves as our Director, Quality and Advocacy.
With Operation Eyesight support, Dr. Wiafe founded Watborg Eye Services, a private hospital specializing in eye services in Ghana's Central Region. In 2012, we opened a new Watborg facility with the support of dedicated donors. It serves about one million residents in the surrounding area, with the goal of expanding its reach over time.
Services include medical and surgical care for those afflicted with eye diseases; training programs; outreach programs for school screening, diagnostic and treatment services; and education to increase the awareness of blindness as a major public health issue. Watborg is designed to be a model based on international standards that can be replicated elsewhere in Ghana and other African countries.
During 2014, over 9,700 people visited Watborg for consultation services, over 700 people were provided with eyeglasses, and 541 surgeries were performed to restore eyesight, all increases over the previous year. A major factor contributing to these increases is numerous outreach screening activities at communities and schools around the hospital. This creates awareness about the need to have their eyes checked frequently, and people with eye problems who would otherwise not visit clinics were identified and referred for further examination and treatment.