Chief advocates for the training of more eye care givers to stem blindness
Nana Yaw Agyarko Ababio, Chief of the Oyoko Traditional Area, has underscored the need for the training of more eye caregivers to help prevent visual impairment other eye health challenges of the citizenry.
According to experts, he said, early detection and the requisite medical intervention are crucial to protect the citizenry from completely losing their sight, in case they contract debilitating eye diseases such as glaucoma and retinopathy, among others.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of an inspection tour of an ongoing infrastructure project of the Oyoko School of Dispensing Optics, at Oyoko, he appealed to the government and relevant stakeholders to support the completion of the project to enable the school increase its intake.
He said the school serving as the sole resource centre offering training to dispensing optics-first line eye caregivers in the country and others in West Africa, lacked adequate lecture halls as well as students’ accommodation and has started the construction of a four storey students’ hostel and a four storey lecture hall.
The 600-bed capacity hostel and the lecture hall which has 12 lecture rooms as well as a 70 seating capacity, would require a total of about GHC1, 476,876.00, to complete, to boost its capacity to meet its target of admitting 300 students for training, this year.
Nana Agyarko Ababio said proceeds from school fees and levies charged from students, have been the only source funding so far and this slowing down the pace of the project, he said.
‘‘We the chiefs of the traditional area donated the 35-acre land on which the project has already taken off and it's only at the foundation stage but the project could only see completion if the government and relevant stakeholders come to the aid of the school”, he added
Giving the historical background of the School, he said, it is the premier optical training school in West Africa, established in 2001 through the collaborative work of three organizations, namely, the Swiss Red Cross, the Africa Action – Germany and the Westphalian Children’s Village at Oyoko.
On 25th November 2008, the private facility became state-owned and has trained over 500 graduates with Certificates in Optical Technician and Diploma in Optician.
However, it has since been grappling with no government funding, no on-campus hostel facility as well as limited space for lectures.
Nana Ababio said the current situation was hindering its vision to become first class international eye-care training/resource center and is also disrupting lectures and other on-campus activities since the students were compelled to live in rented houses in surrounding communities.