Ineffective/allergic conjunctivitis has been identified as the common eye problem among school pupils in Piisie and surrounding communities in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region.
This was identified during a free eye screening exercise for basic school children in the area organised by the Regional Office of the Department of Community Development in collaboration with Bliss Eye Care through its “Blissful Sight for Kids” (BS4Ks) project being funded by Ghana Vision in Switzerland.
The free eye screening, which benefited a total of 521 school children also revealed that 17 of them had suspected glaucoma/other retinal anomalies whilst another 45 had normal eyes.
Dr Zakarea Al-hassan Balure, an Optometrist and Manager of Bliss Eye Care, said those with suspected glaucoma/other retinal anomalies have been referred to the Regional Hospital in Wa for further assessment whereas those with ineffective/allergic conjunctivitis have been given medications and eye glasses.
He said personal hygiene among the children in the area was questionable and called for more education from the Health Promotion Department among school children in the area.
Dr Balure commended parents accompanying their wards to participate in the screening, pointing out that it meant they were concerned about their children eye health but lacked access to the services.
The Optometrist said such were the challenges BS4Ks project was introduced to address through outreach programmes in these remote areas.
He said good eye sight was important to the education of school children, hence the determination of the project to screen and identify these eye problems early for them to be treated or managed before they escalate.
The Manager of Bliss Eye Care therefore called for the need for all to support the project to enable it undertake more of these services across remote communities in the entire region.
Madam Nafisah Yahaya, Acting Regional Director, Department of Community Development, noted that child protection was one of their thematic areas and since eye care formed part of the holistic wellbeing of the child, they decided to collaborate with Bliss Eye Care to have the children screened.
She said aside this; they were also engaging in community sensitization on child marriage/teenage pregnancies, and school dropout, which were also common development challenges in the area to help curb the menace.
Madam Maanasung Danyagri, a Parent said her daughter who was in Day Care had challenges seeing when the sun was high and also at night, which according to her was problematic for both of them.
Madam Fatimatu Issahaku, another Parent said she realised her granddaughter had challenge with her vision in the night because of how she hit things in the night when moving.
Both parents expressed hope that the exercise would help find solutions to their wards’ poor sight so that they would not drop out of school in the future.