GHANA

Capital: Accra

Language: English, Akans, over eighty languages spoken

Population: 31.07 million 

General country overview: Ghana, a country located in West Africa, is known for its lush forests, diverse animal life, and miles of sandy beaches along a picturesque coast. Ghana is made up of many diverse ethnic and linguistic groups. In an effort to promote equality, English has been adopted as the official language. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and manufacturing drive Ghana’s economy.

Relevant eye health statistics: In Ghana, treatment costs for most eye health conditions, such as cataracts and eye-related diseases, are covered by the national health insurance plan. Additionally, ophthalmologists and ophthalmic nurses’ salaries are also covered by the Ghanaian health system, which presents opportunities for eye health care to be integrated into the overall national health care program. One of the biggest challenges regarding eye health in Ghana are that ophthalmologists are primarily centered in urban areas, which limits access for rural populations. A lack of quality assessment tools, minimal integration into the general health system and an inadequate supply of materials such as eyeglasses and medicines also pose challenges. Nearly 3.2 million Ghanaians have vision loss, but there’s only one ophthalmologist for every 311,080 people. Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in Ghana, contributing to nearly 55 percent of the principal causes of blindness. Glaucoma is also a major concern, as it constitutes over 19 percent of the principal causes of blindness in the country.

Our Work in Ghana

Operation Eyesight has been working to prevent blindness and restore sight in Ghana since 2006. Our programs are designed to provide a full range of eye health care services, allowing us to address common eye conditions such as cataract and uncorrected refractive error, as well as more complex cases such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Our partners provide the same quality level of care to all patients, regardless of age, gender, race or ability to pay.

We’re working in partnership with the Government of Ghana to strengthen the country’s eye care systems. Together, we’re successfully integrating eye health care services into the primary health care system, bringing much-needed services to previously underserved communities.

Working with local governments and health facilities helps to ensure the long-term sustainability of our programs. To date, we have worked with 35 district hospitals, and we currently have active partnerships with three hospitals: Saltpond Government Hospital, Manhiya District Hospital and Watborg Eye Services, the latter of which we established. Watborg Eye Services is currently operated by Dr. Boateng Wiafe, our technical advisor. Dr. Bo has completed thousands of cataract surgeries and provided training for hundreds of eye health care personnel in Africa.

Dr. Bo also served as principal investigator and lead researcher for the first ever Blindness and Vision Impairment study in Ghana, commissioned by Operation Eyesight. We developed a methodology and approach that is reliable and cost-effective, working with Ghana Health Service and other partners. The findings of this study helped us to determine the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment in Ghana, and plan and advocate for eye health in the country.

Success stories from Ghana:

Our current priorities in Ghana:

  • Continue working with our government and hospital partners to strengthen and integrate quality eye health care into the existing primary health system 
  • Training and capacity building of the necessary human resources for eye health, impacting the delivery of quality and sustainable eye health services 
  • Increasing our school eye health screening programs to ensure that children and their families have access to the eye health care that they need
  • Research and advocacy  

Our impact over the last five years (2016-2020):

  • 17,593 eye surgeries performed (cataract and other)
  • 1,652,137 eye examinations conducted
  • 3,891 pairs of eyeglasses distributed  
  • 3,247,974 people provided with eye health education
  • 1,434 people trained:
    • 1,396 primary eye care workers
    • 11 equipment technicians
    • 21 optometrists in low vision
    • 4 Ophthalmic Nursing School tutors
    • 1 ophthalmologist
    • 1 ophthalmic nurse
  • Three facilities constructed or refurbished:
    • Weija Gbawe Municipal Hospital’s Eye Unit
    • Tokuroano Outreach Centre
    • Worawora Hospital’s Eye Unit

For more details about our work in Ghana, download this document

How can you help

To join us in eliminating avoidable blindness in Ghana, email philanthropy@operationeyesight.com or contact us here.