National Cataract Outreach Program Launched in Ghana
National Cataract Outreach Program (NCOP) official launch takes place at Eastern Regional Hospital in Koforidua, Ghana
Cataracts continue to be the leading cause of low-vision and blindness in Ghana. The backlog of treatable cataract blindness in Ghana is currently estimated to be 200,000. In an effort to address the backlog and improve cataract care at the national level, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in collaboration with the Himalayan Cataract Project, has officially launched the National Cataract Outreach Program (NCOP).
On September 17, dignitaries from the National and Regional health directorates, representatives from GHS, management and hospital staff from the Eastern Regional Hospital in Koforidua, community members, staff from HCP and patients waiting to receive sight-restoring surgeries attended the official launch event. During this outreach event, almost 200 sight-restoring surgeries were performed. These two young patients became friends while waiting for their cataract surgeries.
The NCOP was developed in collaboration with stakeholders representing the GHS, HCP, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), Operation Eyesight Universal, the private sector and national Eye Health Professional Groups. NCOP planning began in early 2017 with a series of meetings to establish guidelines for expanding the reach of cataract care by increasing the quantity and improving the quality of cataract outreach campaigns in all regions of the country. The meetings were followed by three pilot events in Tarkwa, Keta, and Upper West where 787 sight-restoring surgeries in the last few months of 2017.