Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Department of Ophthalmology is the beneficiary of a modern specialist eye centre which will also serve as a West Africa regional surgical training facility.
The new stand-alone centre, named ‘Lions International Eye Centre,’ was made possible through a fund raising campaign led by Moorfields Eye Hospital (MEH) of the United Kingdom and the Lions Club International (LCI).

Over $3 million has been raised to develop and equip the new centre.

Commenting on the new eye centre, Dr Steven Akafo, a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, said: "My vision is that no eye patient should have to leave Ghana for treatment."

Facilities

The centre has two theatres, three wards, a minor treatment room, a 12-bed bay, offices and consultants rooms. There is also an optical shop which offers optometry services and dispenses spectacles.

Major donor

Lions Club is the major donor for the project. The club has presently contributed a total of $2.5m towards the project.

Major donors in the United Kingdom (UK) are LCI, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Ulverscroft Foundation, Sightsavers, Medicor Foundation, Vitol Foundation, Kirby Laing Foundation, Ghana International Bank, A Nelson & Co Ltd, Enid Linder Foundation and Charles Hayward Foundation.

A Past District Governor of Lions Clubs International Mrs Gloria Lassey, the funds were provided through the Lion Club International Foundation’s International Assistance Grant, the Lions Clubs of the British Isles and Ireland and the Lions Clubs of Ghana, which contributed $28,000.

She said the LCI Foundation operated a ‘Sightfirst’ programme which funds the activities of Lions, non-governmental organisations, government agencies and others to fight the major causes of preventable and reversible blindness.

Mrs Lassey said that the foundation also provided services for persons who were blind or visually impaired by supporting eye health-care delivery systems, training and infrastructure development, particularly in underserved communities throughout the world. 

Government of Ghana contribution

The Government of Ghana also contributed US$250,000 which added to contributions from within Ghana, including the Ghanaian Business community, amounting to almost US$500,000.

The Resident Coordinator of the project Mrs Evelyn Tay noted the invaluable support of President John Dramani Mahama towards the project.

Mrs Tay, who has worked for more that twenty years to improve health care in Ghana, stated that President Mahama showed interest in the project right from its inception and has been very supportive. 

She said a team of 18 medical personnel from Moorfields Eye Hospital led by Dr Ian Murdoch, Consultant Ophthalmalogist from the hospital, who conceived the idea to give Ghana the specialist eye facility,will be in the country from Saturday, October 3, 2015, to join their Ghanaian colleagues in ensuring that the new centre is prepared to function well from today.

Training

Recognising that training is integral to any strategy to tackle avoidable blindness, MEH and LCI committed to raising the funds to build the centre as a means of enabling eye care workers and ophthalmologists to access higher surgical training and continuing medical education locally within the region, working closely with the West African College of Surgeons and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

Over £500,000 has been raised to date to support the planning, piloting and development of training for eye care workers in Ghana and across West Africa.

Twelve doctors have benefitted from four surgical training courses, which included glaucoma, small incision cataract surgery, eyelid surgery and a special course for training of trainers. 

The training is coordinated by Prof. E. D. Yeboah, an eminent Ghanaian Surgeon, and Dr Murdoch.

"With the development of this new integrated training and treatment centre, West Africa will be a vanguard for sub-speciality training in ophthalmology, which is very exciting," stated Dr Murdoch.

Dr Folasade Akinsola, Past Chairman, Faculty of Ophthalmology,West African College of Surgeons, also noted that "developing sub-specialist surgical skills will ensure comprehensive and quality eye health services are available across West Africa, reducing avoidable blindness in line with Vision 2020 objectives."

Outreach training programmes have also been organised within Ghana, including Our Lady of Grace Hospital, Breman Asikuma and Hwidiem in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Moorfield’s Guest House

The project includes a 12-room guest house called ‘Moorfields House’ to accommodate visiting doctors, nurses and trainees for the training courses. When the guest house is vacant, the facilities will be offered to other medical personnel visiting Korle Bu at an economic cost to generate income for the centre.
 


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