HCP Partners complete two successful cataract campaigns in Ghana, providing 269 sight restoring procedures
In May, HCP partner Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the Holy Family Hospital organized a five day cataract surgical outreach campaign in Techiman, Ghana where 232 cataract surgeries were performed. Individuals served ranged from 7 to 97 years of age, including 26 year old Janet from Kofoso located in the Kintampo South Constituency of Ghana. Janet’s sight was restored after living with cataracts in both eyes for 10 years and being told she would never see again.
The Holy Family Hospital is part of the National Catholic Health Service (NCHS) and also a member of Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG). The hospital has a staff of 357 various medical and administrative professionals with 198 beds. This is the hospital’s third outreach of the year with plans for further outreach, “It is our wish that together we can work towards making this project bigger and better,” Edgard, KATH Eye Center Records Keeper.
The next HCP-supported campaign was organized by Tamale Teaching Hospital with the Mathias Catholic Hospital in Yeji, Ghana from July 9 - 14 providing 37 cataract surgeries. Yeji is a town located along the Volta River in the Atebubu District in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. Because of the proximity to the Volta River, difficult to reach populations located along the water were accessed in this maiden effort, which sometimes required boats to get to villages to conduct cataract screenings.
With the combined efforts in Techiman and Yeji a total of 269 successful sight restoring procedures were recently performed. In the past couple years, HCP has expanded its reach in Ghana to include partnerships with the Tamale Teaching Hospital in the Northern region, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra and Operation Eyesight Universal, a Canadian INGO also working to reduce needless blindness in Ghana. For more information on our work in Ghana click here.
Arba Minch Hospital hosts HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologist and Lenovo equipment tester for cataract outreach.
HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologist Dr. John Welling, Lenovo employee Chris Annison and The Keeler Family traveled to Ethiopia to work with HCP partner Dr. Dawit Gidey of the Arba Minch Hospital in Ethiopia for a cataract outreach from June 12-16. In just four days, a total of 607 cataract surgeries and one corneal tear repair were performed.
Dr. John Welling participated in several surgical outreach events as an HCP International Fellow from 2015 to 2016. He is now one of HCP’s Affiliated Ophthalmologists and works with HCP Board Member Dr. Matt Oliva at the Medical Eye Center in Medford, OR. Dr. Dawit Gidey is an HCP partner Ophthalmologist at the Arba Minch Hospital and most recently spent five months in an HCP-supported cornea sub-specialty training program at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal.
Chris Annison works for Lenovo, a US-based innovative consumer, commercial and enterprise technologies company. In addition to generously supporting to this outreach, Lenovo is working with HCP to test tablets that collect monitoring and evaluation data in the field.
HCP would like to thank Chris and the Keeler family; Cliff, Wendy, Chelsey, India, Jaxon and Durban, who volunteered at this outreach with their time and also provided support through the Keeler Lift Up the Hands Fund. Below are two patient stories captured by this amazing group.
This is Kababush, she is 34 years old and a mother of six. She was blind in both eyes because of advanced cataracts. Due to her blindness, her husband has been taking care of their children, significantly reducing his ability to earn income. As a result the older children were also forced to stay home from school in order to help with their younger siblings. Kababush traveled 175 km to Arba Minch during this outreach in hopes that she would regain her sight giving her the ability to take care of her family again. Prior to her cataract surgeries she said if her sight was restored the first thing she would do is give thanks to God and go home to take care of her kids again. The next day, she did exactly that.
This is Mekelmu (pictured with his father & Dr. Welling), he is 14 years old and has been blind in both eyes from cataracts since the age of 7. Not wanting him to fall behind, Mekelmu’s father made him go to school through second grade, even after he lost his sight. However, he was teased and bullied so much that eventually his father allowed him to stay home. When he was blind he would sit at home by himself or go to the fields where his father worked and sit on the ground. During this outreach he received sight sight restoring surgery in both eyes. Mekelmu says he can't wait to go back to school and help his mother at home.
Drs. Anya Gushchin and Brent Hayek led an oculoplastics workshop at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana from April 23rd-30th. The training consisted of both lectures and hands-on clinical training with KATH Drs. Armah, Agyeman and Gifty; oculoplastic nurses Vida and Hannah; and ophthalmology residents.
Prior to the workshop, the KATH team gathered together oculoplastics patients requiring specialized treatment, many of whom would not have received care otherwise. A total of 35 patients were seen over the course of the program. The whole oculoplastic team was trained in fitting of ocular prosthesis and made real headway in making an institutional change to place a conformer at the time of enucleation/evisceration surgery to prevent socket contractures. This is a perfect example of how HCP is able to bring together American and Ghanaian ophthalmic professionals to provide high quality treatment and improve overall eye care.
A special thank you goes out to the nurses and anesthesiology team and the OMFS division who lent their bone saw thus making an orbital case possible for the first time. We would like to also recognize Mr. Roland Scott, an ocularist from Chicago, who donated 29 prostheses and many conformers for the patients of KATH.