The role of training has always been central to the work of the HCP, particularly because we recognize that 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. Dr. G. Fordjour from Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana is one such example.
From the central region of Ghana, Dr. Fordjour attended the University of Ghana Medical School and the Stanford Basic Ophthalmology course, she is a fellow of the West African College of Surgeons and Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. She first heard about HCP from doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital so she was familiar with the organization when we began a partnership with Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, where she was based.
Dr. Fordjour works with HCP at outreach events and supports HCP training in Ghana, most recently with the International Council of Ophthalmology exams. Additionally, as a Cornea Subspecialist, she has participated in several hands-on cornea workshops in Ghana with HCP Co-Founder, Dr. Geoff Tabin, former HCP International Fellow, Dr. Neda Nikpoor and most recently with outgoing HCP International Fellow, Dr. Allison Jarstad.
When asked how these training opportunities helped her or impacted her work, Dr. Fordjour explained:
“For these trainings, Drs. Neda and Allison brought donor corneas to my eye center. So corneal patients who could otherwise not afford surgeries received excellent transplant surgeries. Which also gave me experience doing transplant surgeries, which we cannot normally do because of a lack of donated corneas.
For the future of eye care in Ghana, I hope every patient will have access to care. To be able to have doctors with every surgical skill plus equipment and consumables available to them within the country.”
Dr. Fordjour notes the National Cataract Program as an example of progress in strengthening Ghana's eye care systems.
“The National Cataract Program supported by HCP is making cataract surgery and, to some extent, other eye care interventions accessible to remote parts of the country.”
But what drives Dr. Fordjour is the joy of sight-restoration and the effect it has on her patients’ lives.
“The satisfaction of seeing smiles on the faces of those who were blind a few hours before makes everything worthwhile. Packing and leaving the family can be difficult sometimes and operating in less than ideal conditions is hard, but the smiles and happiness - that satisfaction should be felt by all who donate to help cure blindness.”