A total of 556 out of 771 pupils of the Nakore-Chansah basic school in the Wa Municipality, have been screened with ineffective and allergic conjunctivitis and other pathological conditions of the eye.
The free screening exercise also identified 17 pupils with refractive errors, whereas 198 were found to have normal eyes.
The exercise was organized by the Wa Municipal Education Directorate in collaboration with Bliss Eye Care under the “Blissful Sight for Kids (BS4Ks)” project being funded by Ghana Vision in Switzerland.
Mr Abudu Issahaku, the Wa Municipal School Health Education Programme (SHEP) Coordinator, lauded the collaboration with Bliss Eye Care, pointing out that over 80 students had so far been given reading glasses and several others given medications since the inception of the project.
According to him, some parents in their setting do not take the vision of their wards seriously and as a result, they were unable to identify children with visual challenges early, hence the essence of the exercise.
“Eye problems will always be there, but what we are advocating is constant screening for early identification and treatment to avoid visual impairment in the future”, Mr Issahaku said.
Pongnaa Fati Issahaka Koray I, the Queen mother of Chansah, noted that the eye of the human being was important, but parents often fail to pay attention or observe the eyes of their wards to identify any visual challenges on time and take steps to have them addressed.
“So, Bliss Eye Care presented us the opportunity to collaborate to have this exercise done, so that those with visual challenges can be identified and given the appropriate remedy,” the Queen mother said.
She expressed satisfaction with the turnout, but expressed disappointment that parents failed to accompany their wards to come for the screening.
Madam Nishafatu Shamsideen, a teacher at the school, noted that pupils with visual problems often copy wrongly from the board into their books, which could impact negatively on their understanding.
“We are so happy for the exercise, and we are hopeful that through this, all the pupils with visual problems will be identified and given the appropriate treatment,” he said.
Madam Adama Rahamatu, a parent said her 13-year-old daughter had been battling with problems since age four and expressed the hope that through Bliss Eye Care her daughter’s visual problems would be addressed to prevent her from losing her sight and be compelled to drop out of school.
Dr. Zakarea Al-hassan Balure, an Optometrist and the Manager of Bliss Eye Care said the objective of the exercise was to help address visual challenges among basic school children in the region to continue their education to the highest level.
He said those with suspected glaucoma and other retinal anomalies would be referred to the Regional Hospital for further assessment whereas those with ineffective and allergic conjunctivitis would be given medications and eyeglasses to help address their visual problems.
He encouraged parents to have keen interest in the vision of their children by going for regular screening to ensure early identification and treatment of any visual defects before they reach the worse stage.
He expressed gratitude to Ghana Vision in Switzerland for the funding support to carry out the project to help improve the vision of basic school children in the region.