New Horizon Foundation of the Blind (NHFB), a non-governmental organisation based in Ho, is embarking on a six-month eye screening project among some selected Basic Schools in the Volta Region.
The project is dubbed “Sight First: Operation Rescue” and will be done in the Ho and Ketu North Municipalities; Afadjato South, Ho West and Agotime Ziope Districts.
Mr Eric Kwabla Ofori, Executive Director of the Foundation, speaking at an inception meeting in Ho, said a total of 1,000 pupils were expected to benefit from the project.
He said though the Foundation was into rehabilitation, it was also much concerned about prevention, hence the project to identify learners with visual challenges for early intervention to enhance their full participation in mainstream schools.
The Executive Director said the project, to be done in collaboration with the Ho Teaching Hospital, is being sponsored by Deutsches Blindenhilfswerk (DBHW), Germany.
He said children with visual impairment and low vision would be identified during the exercise and placed at the NHFB Educational Centre
Children with other sight conditions or problems would be referred for further examinations and diagnosis to prevent the situation from getting worse, he said.
Mr Ofori said parents and guardians would also be sensitised on how to have access to information on preventive measures and rehabilitation services available in their communities and districts.
The NHFB Education Centre currently runs programmes, including braille literacy, digital literacy (adaptive computing), orientation and mobility, independent living skills and advocacy skills.
Mr Prosper Agbo, a Board Member of the Foundation, who was also rescued during one of such programmes said, “sight matters in our lives” hence there was the need for a collective effort to provide the needed support to children with visual impairments.
He said the session aimed to bring the various stakeholders together to deliberate on strategies to adopt to identify children with visual challenges in the beneficiary municipalities and districts.
Mr Michael Tsikudo, Ho Municipal Special Education Officer, commended the Foundation for the support giving to children with visual impairment over the years.
He described the project as a right step towards addressing eye issues among pupils, who themselves might not know if they had any problem with their eye and urged various stakeholders to support the Foundation in carrying out the project.
Madam Serwa Agyeman, Optometrist at Ho Teaching Hospital, speaking to the Ghana News Agency, advised the citizens to take good care of their eyes.
She said it was important to have an eye screening or checkup once a year as early intervention was paramount in taking appropriate measures to address any challenge.
The Optometrist asked the citizens to report any eye problem to health facilities for thorough examination and avoid using concoctions or herbs on their eye as such could cause damage to their eye.
The meeting was attended by SPED and SHED officers, Heads of Supervision and officers of Social Welfare Department of the beneficiary municipalities and districts.