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Flying Eye Hospital Brings Hope for Eye Patients in Africa



Ghana is in dire need of the specialised services provided by the flying eye hospital. Many Ghanaians are in danger of going blind and according to the Ghana Health Service about 200,000 out of a 20 million population are already blind.

"Cataract blindness accounts for half of these cases," the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said.

Glaucoma accounts for 15 to 20 percent of cases, trachoma five percent, childhood blindness 5 to 10 percent and 10 percent owing to other causes.

Medical authorities say the figures are high, especially as 75 percent of all blindness is either preventable or treatable.

"It is equally important for people to take preventive steps and seek immediate care when eye disease is suspected," the GHS says.

Dr. Gordon said their mission is to prevent blindness and restore sight.

The flying hospital team is leaving behind a trained team and videos of surgical procedures to train in the use of surgical instruments.

The Ghana Health Service has launched a five-year (2004-2008) National Eye Health Programme aimed at reducing the prevalence of avoidable blindness in Ghana by strengthening national, regional and local capacities.

It also aims to ensure affordable eye care, make eye health available to everybody and mobilize communities to participate actively in eye care.

But given that there are only an estimated 50 ophthalmologists in Ghana with 23 in the capital, Accra, this is a very tall order. Those who benefited from the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital can only thank their lucky stars.

(Source: IANS)
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