An eye clinic in Ghana developed and equipped by Specsavers in Hinckley has held a six-day clinic treating the eye complaints of more than 1,000 locals and dispensing specs donated by the stores.
The team have been actively supporting the clinic in Gyetiase, an initiative of the Ashanti Development charity, continuously for five years. They have visited, donated equipment, fundraised and undertaken staff training and specs collections in store.
Abhijit Roy, director at both Specsavers stores and the Ashanti Development’s UK Eye Health Ambassador, has visited the clinic in Gyetiase several times and plans to return in October this year.
He said: ‘It’s fantastic that the clinic we are so involved with is carrying out such valuable community work in the area. Over the six-day period, 1,123 people were seen and 103 cataract surgeries were performed. More than 1,600 spectacles were dispensed in total, all of which were donated by us from collections of customers’ unwanted specs in store. These are amazing figures which reflect how important the work that the Ashanti Development does to get people in Ghana access to eye care.
‘We really appreciate those who have helped through donations and giving their old specs to us, they’ve made a world of difference and the project has come on leaps and bounds because of them – we now have a full-time Ghanaian optometrist working in the eye clinic. There are only 45 optometrists in Ghana compared to around 12,000 in the UK, so every little bit makes a huge difference.’
Eye health is a major problem in the region; children who go blind have a life expectancy of just 1 year.
Last year, his friend and colleague Nigel Davidson who is also travelling to Ashanti this October kindly donated a Pulsair tonometer to the eye clinic - a piece of kit that can measure eye pressure and help diagnose glaucoma, which is a big problem in Ashanti and the cause of more than 20% of blindness in the region.
The Ashanti Development, which is run solely by volunteers, continuously works to provide remote Ashanti villages with water and sanitation, healthcare, education and income generating activities. For more information, please visit www.ashanti-development.org/.