Expanding Access to High Quality Eye Care in West Africa

Clinical Skills and Outreach Management Training in Ghana

The role of training has always been central to the work of the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP), particularly because we recognize that high-quality surgery must be the cornerstone of an effort to address cataract blindness and the vast majority of surgery must be performed by trained local personnel. This perspective underlies our every effort to train local providers at all levels – from sub-specialty ophthalmologists to nurses to equipment technicians and outreach management. With this in mind, we would like to share a new training opportunity from HCP supported by a grant from the Alcon Foundation.

The pilot initiative, Expanding Access to High Quality Eye Care in West Africa: Clinical Skills and Outreach Management Training in Ghana program’s main focus is to develop the ability of ophthalmic personnel to provide high-quality eye care to populations in rural areas of Ghana through outreach campaigns. Moreover, the funds are specifically directed to training workshops for partners to strengthen existing and build new outreach programs successfully.

The three segments of this project, which kicked off in June, began with a three week training workshop with HCP Partner, Cape Coast Teaching Hospital designed and led by the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Outreach Team. Currently in the second phase, the KATH Outreach Team is participating in Eyexcel Global, Allied Ophthalmic Personnel Training Program, Co-Sponsored by the ICO, Aravind, and Seva Foundation in India. This program is designed to support the development of Ophthalmic personnel education programs. The final component of this initiative will be a second training workshop to follow for another HCP partner planned for the fall.

Through the Eyexcel Global training, the KATH team is able to get the support and time needed to create and refine a high-quality training program that will be the foundation for them as HCP’s longest partner in Ghana and a premier training center. This training was also open to HCP Partners from Ethiopia and a unique opportunity to have partners from both East and West Africa together, giving consistency to our programs across the continent. The KATH team members participating are Drs. Curtis Addae, Amos Aikins and Seth Lartey; and HCP Ethiopian Partners, Ms. Temire Abera from Gondar University Hospital; and Ms. Mitikie Wondie and Dr. Hiwot Mengistie from Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital. While in India, both teams  were treated to dinner by HCP Partner, Dr. Akwasi Ahmed who is currently in India for a 12-month retina fellowship at Aravind, also supported by HCP. We hope you share our excitement in seeing our East and West African partners together in Asia, brought together with the same mission: to enhance their knowledge and strengthen eye care systems and outreach in their home countries.

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