During late May, a six-day surgical visit to HCP's partner in Kumasi, Ghana, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, KATH, provided 130 life changing eye surgeries - including 50 pediatric cases. The KATH Eye Center has increased its outreach and care since the February inauguration of the new surgical facility that has three dedicated operating rooms for eye surgery. KATH is the second largest hospital in Ghana and is a referral center for the Ashanti region and also treats patients from Burkina Faso, Cote D'Ivoire and the Republic of Togo. Partners from the University of Utah's John A. Moran Eye Center, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College collaborated last month to provide ongoing mentorship to KATH's ophthalmic staff comprised of seven ophthalmologists, four ophthalmology residents, nurses and medical students.The KATH Eye Center has specialists in cornea, glaucoma, pediatrics, retina and oculoplastics. With HCP donor support, KATH performs routine screenings of patients in the surrounding regions to either provide care on site or refer to KATH.
The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, HCP’s legacy partner in Nepal, recently organized an Outreach Microsurgical Eye Clinic (OMEC) in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal, one of the world’s most remote places. Upper Mustang is hidden in the shadows of the Himalayas and for centuries was isolated from the rest of Nepal. Tilganga began working in this region in 2009.
During this most recent campaign, sight was restored to an elderly woman who had been blind for eight years and trekked to the campaign on horseback, accompanied by her 21-year-old grandson. Following bilateral surgery, the patient could see her grandson’s face, and proudly walked back to her home.
Another outreach event was held In early April by the Phaplu Community Eye Center (CEC), in the Solukumbo region of Nepal. 1,498 patients were examined and 80 cataract surgeries were provided. Run by a five-person staff, the Phaplu CEC is overseen by Tilganga and realized a 6% increase in patient care in 2013. The Himalayan Cataract Project is supporting the construction of the two-story, six-room community eye center, with help from the Nancy Allison Perkins Foundation, as the original Phaplu CEC had outgrown its facility. Construction is expected to be completed by June 2014.
The formal inauguration of the Eye Center at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana, took place on Tuesday, February 25. The event was well-attended by Ghanaian dignitaries, project partners and members of the press.
Ghana’s Minister of Health, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, saluted the various partners for their contribution to the facility and said she found it refreshing that the facility would train more eye care professionals to overcome the distribution imbalance of eye care personnel in Ghana. The country has a population of 24 million with only 74 ophthalmologists concentrated in the urban areas with an estimated 240,000 blind.
To mark the facility’s completion, KATH organized a cataract and cornea surgical workshop in the days leading up to the inauguration. KATH’s clinical team managed multiple screening events in three different districts to draw patients from nine communities. Patients were bussed to the new facility for surgery and then recovered in the new patient wards. In total, 160 cataract surgeries (including 20 patients who were bilaterally blind) and six corneal transplant surgeries were provided. With the new facility complete KATH anticipates replicating this type of outreach event at least once a month in an effort to increase patient examinations and surgical volume.