A link between Moorfields Eye Hospital, UK and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana to establish a training programme to develop the ophthalmic services at Korle Bu was supported by IHLFS.

Expensive spectacles

In Korle-Bu Teaching hospital in Ghana, the eye clinic did not dispense spectacles after doctors prescribed it for use. Patients had to take their prescriptions to the private clinics and shops outside the hospital for spectacles. Under this link, with the aim of developing optometry services at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to enable patients to gain access to eye care testing, refraction and quality dispensing and spectacles, the vision centre has been established and is currently dispensing spectacles to patients. This is the first time in the history of the hospital that patients are able to buy spectacles after prescription from the eye clinic in Korle-Bu. In addition, patients get the spectacles cheaper at the vision centre than from outside; they are donated by Vision Aid, meaning that the centre can afford to sell them at slightly cheaper prices.

The Link: Korle-Bu and Moorfields

Not only have two optometrists been trained in running the Vision Centre, but also a manager was trained to run the centre on a sustainable business model. The Vision Centre currently sees about 80 patients per week, dispensing around 30% of this. It is expected that three trainee optometrists will be attached to Korle Bu each year. Over the three years of the grant, nine trainee optometrists will be directly involved in delivering the project.

Another aim of the link was to establish a programme of courses in basic surgical training, trabeculectomy and cataract at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for ophthalmologists across West Africa. Aimed at improving the skills of existing ophthalmologists, residency training programs already exist. The link provides training beyond residency training. With more trained eye surgeons on the above cataracts, it means more people requiring these services can receive it faster.

Making a difference

Trainings have been highly commended by trainees. Trainings have enhanced the surgical skills of the specialist and this is impacting the work that they do in a positive manner so they are better able to manage their patients.

Sustaining the ophthalmic services into the future

It is also hoped that the capital from the Vision Centre will help subsidise costs in the training program after the programme has ended.

IHLFS Team, British Council Ghana