Optometrist calls for more funding and personnel in the north

Dr. Daniel Opoku Gyamfi

A principal optometrist at the Central Hospital in Tamale, Dr. Daniel Opoku Gyamfi, is advocating for more opthomologists to be posted to the northern part of the country to bridge the access of eye specialist between that part and the south.

According to him, eye health should be considered a priority by the government and health systems and provide enough funding to that effect.

“Eye health capacities – staff, volunteers, equipment, and infrastructure – must be reoriented and built to ensure that they are well positioned and integrated to be an active component of efforts towards achieving SDG 3(4) and ensuring improved quality of life.”

Cataract and Glaucoma are the leading causes of blindness. A substantial increase (103%) of diabetes is anticipated by 2040 and one-tenth of people with diabetes are expected to develop vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy.

The WHO reports that non-communicable diseases kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.

Each year, more than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 years die from an NCD; 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Seventy-seven percent of all NCD deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.3 million), respiratory diseases (4.1 million), and diabetes (1.5 million).

These four groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.

In 2017, the International Diabetics Federation (IDF) estimated that Ghana had a diabetic population of 1.9%.

Approximately one in three people living with diabetes have some degree of Diabetic Retinopathy.

READ ALSO:  Ghana can't afford a fourth Covid wave - Nsia Asare

SDG 3(4) seeks to reverse such deaths with the hope to saving over 50 million by the end of the decade. This means more people are going to live longer.

“I would want to advocate for eye health to be considered a main component of the NCD management worldwide. It must be universally acclaimed and accepted that governments and health systems must see the two as interlinked.”

By Christopher Amoako|3news.com|Ghana