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Published: 11.07.2023
Kristine Nyabera Africa Programme Officer

The National Eye Care unit in Ghana through the support of The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness held its 1st Eye Care Summit around “Refocusing Eye Health towards achieving 2030 In Sight Targets.” The summit brought together 53 eye health stakeholders to deliberate on strategies of aligning Ghana’s eye health programs to the 2030 In Sight Strategy at Milklin Hotel, Accra on the 26th and 27th of April 2023.

Eye health in Ghana

Ghana became the first country in Africa to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem and has made significant progress towards improving access to eye care services over the decades through infrastructure development, equipping, capacity building and deployment of human resources for eye health. Despite the progress, there are still about 300,000 Ghanaians who are blind and about 332,000 who suffer from severe visual impairment. The most common causes of blindness being cataract (54.5%), Glaucoma (19.4%) and Posterior Segment Disease including Diabetic Retinopathy (12.9%) and corneal related causes (11.2%) (‘Ghana Blindness and Visual Impairment Study, 2015). Despite the progress made, there are still many issues to be addressed as all these improvements have not kept pace with the eyecare needs of the increasing population.

Day 1 of summit

On the 1st day of the summit, the participants heard presentations and reports from different entities in Ghana including the regional ophthalmologists/ eye health focal persons from four different regions of Ghana, the training institutions in Ghana, Ghana Blind union, Akporong School for the Blind, the special education unit, the School Health Education Program (SHEP), the Health Facilities and Regulatory Agency and the Vula mobile app. From the presentations, some of the cross-cutting challenges from the institutions included but not limited to:

  • Poor data on resources and service delivery.
  • Poor reporting on spectacle uptake.
  • Redistribution and transfers of ophthalmic nurses.
  • Inadequate resources to reach the hard-to-reach communities.
  • Inadequate funding and resources among the training institutions.

Day 2 of summit

On the second day of the summit, the stakeholders unpacked the three pillars of the 2030 In Sight Strategy; Elevate, Integrate and Activate and were exposed to the various mechanisms and resources available to implement each. WHO’s representative highlighted the global eye health statistics and the projections of eye conditions over the next 30 years which show an upward trajectory caused by the change in lifestyles and the ageing population. The need for interventions to address the issues was emphasized and some of the tools developed by WHO to support countries in planning such as the Eye Care Situational Analysis Tool, Eye Care Indicator Menu, Package of Eye Care Interventions and Eye Care Competency Framework showcased.

Eye Health NGOs in Ghana

The eye health NGOs working in Ghana presented their respective eye care activities in Ghana. The NGO’s included Orbis International, Vision Spring, Visio International, Operation Eyesight International, HCP Cureblindness and Swiss/Ghana Red Cross Society. Some of the areas of implementation amongst the NGO’s cross-cut among the WHO building blocks of the health systems covering service delivery, human resources, research and medical products and technologies.

The WHO Eye Care Situation Analysis Tool (ECSAT) preliminary findings were disseminated. The exercise assessed the trends and evaluated progress made in Ghana towards implementing IPEC by assessing the components of leadership, service delivery, information, and financing.

The private sector was acknowledged as critical in ensuring availability of equitable and accessible eye care services including provision of cutting-edge technology and innovation in eye care as compared to the public sector. Hence, public private partnership was encouraged.

The Ghana Red Cross PEC Volunteers’ Manual was presented to the stakeholders as it was developed with an aim of strengthening the ability of the Ghana Red Cross Society’s volunteers to complement the work of the frontline health workers who are required to offer basic eye health services in line with the WHO AFRO Primary Eye Care Manual. The trained PEC workers will help link services between the households and the facility.


Some of the agreed upon interventions going forward in Ghana included:

  • Development of the IPEC strategic plan for Eye Health in Ghana.
  • Developing strategies to ensure that quality and quantity data is captured on eye health.
  • Addressing human resource challenges.
  • Supporting the training institutions to maximize their capabilities.
  • Integration of Primary Eye Care into Primary Health Care.
  • Ensuring access to eye care services by all Ghanaians to ensure the unreached are reached.

The full report of the summit is annexed to this report.