Tema,-The Ghana Optometric Association (GOA) has stated that education plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of blindness.
It said data had indicated that level of education had positive impact on avoidance of blindness.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dr. Remi Ninkpe, who is the GOA National President quoting from the 2015 Ghana Blindness and Visual Impairment study revealed that 45.2 percent of people who were blind had never attended school, while 38.7 percent had attained only a basic level of formal education.
“This indicates that 83.9 percent of persons who were blind had never attended school or attained only a basic level of education,” DSP Ninkpe stated at the launch of “GNA-GOA: My Eye! My Vision! Is a collaborative public education advocacy campaign between the Association and the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office to promote the need for people to access eye care and also to draw attention to vision health.
The GNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision! The initiative also seeks to challenge the public and policymakers to focus on vision as a health issue, which forms a critical component of mankind’s wellbeing but is often neglected.
DSP Ninkpe who is a medical officer at the Police Hospital in Accra said the figure further showed a large difference in the proportion between a basic level of education 38.7 percent and a secondary level of education 9.7 percent.
He said the data indicated that secondary or higher education had a positive impact on avoidance of blindness and also stressed that 38.7 percent of persons who were blind in 2015 were among the poorest households in terms of wealth.
“As wealth increases among households, the proportions that are blind decreases among the rich,” DSP Ninkpe stated.
He noted that prevention of avoidable visual impairment would only be achieved if effective, efficient, and comprehensive eye health services were integrated into the six building blocks of health systems strengthening.
Dr Ninkpe said about 54.8 percent of persons who were blind could have been treated and cured saying that an additional 12.9 percent of persons who were found blind could have been prevented from going blind.
He said in all, the findings indicated that 67.7 percent of all blindness could have been avoided.
Mr Albert Kofi Owusu, General Manager, Ghana News Agency advised journalists to use their profession to impact on society for accelerated national development; “your position as journalists is an important opportunity and platform to impact positively on society through your writings”.
The GNA General Manager said, “Journalism has offered you the opportunity to impact on your community and country grab it and make the best out of it, speak for the vulnerable, let society benefit from your profession”.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, GNA-Tema Regional Manager explained that the two professional bodies had agreed to work together on a public sensitization campaign dubbed: “GNA-GOA: My Eyes! My Vision” to draw attention to vision health.
“We are combining the forces of our professional calling as Optometric Physicians and Communication Experts to reach out to the public with a well-coordinated message.
“We believe such collaboration would serve as a major platform to educate the public on vision health and also serves as a critical stage for the association to reach out to the world,” Mr Ameyibor noted.
The Reverend Emmanuel Kwesi Ofori, Minister in Charge Central Assemblies of God Church, Tema Community Four who is also a Government Appointee, Tema Metropolitan Assembly who chaired the event called on the government to support the Ghana Optometric Association to enhance their services in the country.
Source: Ghana News Agency