Free eye screening services organised for school kids in Tumu in the Sissala East Municipality of the Upper West Region recorded low turnout to the displeasure of the service provider, Bliss Eye Care.

The exercise, which was organised as part of activities marking the 2019 edition of the Paari Gbielle Festival of the Chiefs and people of Tumu Traditional Area saw only 345 school pupils turning up for the screening.

The turnout according to Dr Zakarea Al-hassan Balure, an Optometrist and Manager of Bliss Eye Care fell way below his expectation, saying he expected at least over a 1,000 kids to turn up for the exercise.

He wondered why parents failed to bring their wards to take advantage of a service that was being rendered free.

Dr Balure noted that even with the 345 kids screened, conditions such as squint, cataract, optic atrophy and refractive errors among others were identified, adding that these eye defects if not identified early and treated would pose greater visual problem for victims in the future.

He announced that there would be a cataract surgery next week and urged those with the condition to take advantage of the surgery to have their problems corrected to enhance their vision.
The Manager noted that those with squint would also be given optics for final correction.

“People always say eye problems will not kill you, but I tell you that it will deprive you of many things in life”, Dr Balure lamented.

He advised the people not to only wait for free eye screening services before they seek eye care services, emphasising that an eye defect which was not identified early for treatment may lead to total blindness in the future.

Madam Pride Anbazu, an Ophthalmic Nurse in Sissala East District also expressed discontent about the poor turnout despite the wide publicity on the exercise.

She said generally, people in the Municipality had a lackadaisical attitude towards eye care services and said that needed to change to avert many future blindness.

Madam Kathrine Dudimah, a Parent said she received complaint from the teachers of her grand-daughter that she often moved close to the blackboard before she could see what was written on the board.

She said after the complaint, she also observed that in the house, the grand-daughter often sit closer to the television before she could see the pictures, adding that she had therefore brought her to take advantage of the exercise to correct the problem.

Madam Wasila Abu, another Parent said the poor vision of the son which was detected in school was having a negative impact on his education as he had already repeated twice because of poor performance.

Both parents expressed gratitude to Bliss Eye Care and the Paari Gbielle Festival Organising Committee for collaborating to render the service free of charge.

Mr Osman Kanton, a member of the Paari Gbielle Festival Organising Committee said they decided to include free eye screening services to the activities of the Festival for the first time because they realised people in the area hardly patronise eye care services.

He thanked Bliss Eye Care for accepting their invitation to organise the screening free of charge.

The exercise formed part of the implementation of the “Blissful Sight for Kids” Project which is aimed at early identification and treatment of visual problems confronting the pupils before they become adults.

The project is being sponsored by Ghana Vision, a non-profit organisation in Switzerland.


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