An example of the slit lamp equipment that was donated
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Dr Jesse Hunsaker and Diane Hunsaker, have donated $35,000 worth of equipment to Save the Nation?s Sight (SNS) Ophthalmology Clinic at Madina.
The two travelled from their hometown near Salt Lake City, Utah (USA) to make the donation.
As part of the church?s initiative to provide humanitarian aid to those in need, the Hunsakers were assigned to West Africa and have travelled to seven countries in the region.
Dr Hunsaker has worked as an ophthalmologist since 1982.
After identifying the common problem of eye diseases and blindness in Ghana, Dr Hunsaker said he felt a ?special kinship? towards Dr Thomas Tontie Baah, founder of SNS.
After many years of practising medicine, Dr Baah opened SNS in 2010. Today, the clinic is well- known throughout every village in Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern, Central, and Western regions, where the need for eye care is much more severe. About 70 percent of patients treated at the clinic are low-income earners, and Dr Baah said, ?We do not operate solely for profit; there is a humanitarian face to all our dealings with our patients. We are the clinic of the people for the people.?
Dr Baah began partnering with the church in 2011, and added that they have contributed about $100,000 worth of equipment since then.
The handing-over ceremony for the slit lamp and YAG laser took place at the SNS Clinic in Madina, and included members of the church who reside in the United States, Canada and in Ghana as well as members of the medical community.
Helen Mary Bainson, Deputy Director of Nursing Services, Greater Accra Region, acknowledged the church?s projects towards other medical problems in Ghana such as the high mortality rate for children under five years old.
?The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has contributed immensely in the provision of quality care for newborns. For about six years now, the church has supported the midwives in the Greater Accra Region so that they can attend to newborn babies who went through abnormal transition. They also provided several equipment and training items to the midwives,? Ms Bainson said.
The Deputy Director of Nursing Services said that her agency recorded about 65,000-70,000 cases of eye diseases and conditions per year.
?With donations from organisations such as the church, prompt intervention and proper eye care is more accessible,? she added.
Dr Baah presented traditional Ghanaian cloth to Dr Hunsaker, Mrs Hunsaker and four other missionaries from the church, thanking them again for their contributions.
?My biggest goal for the clinic is to expand. I want to reach more people in the rural areas to provide services to them. Those are the people who need my help the most,? Dr Baah said.
BY Azia Calderhead