When Dr. Salomey walked into the optometry clinic lab, Angel spun quickly to see who had entered. It was a usual morning at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, a long standing HCP partner.
The clinic admission area and large open waiting room buzzed with activity. Dozens of patients lined the wooden benches waiting for eye exams, glasses and for those in greatest need, corrective cataract surgery. The KATH eye hospital was constructed in 2014 with support from HCP and USAID/ASHA. Today, it is one of four teaching hospitals in Ghana, providing both care and critical training for ophthalmologists, optometrists, ophthalmic nurses, biomedical technicians and other allied health professions.
Wearing a bright yellow dress and a half smile revealing a couple of loose teeth, Angel is 7 years old and in second grade. She is an excellent student, and she was at KATH that day for her annual exam. Her father, Kwame, explained that Angel makes this annual pilgrimage to KATH by traveling three hours by bus each way from their home in a small village to the west. KATH is the closest eye clinic where patients can have glasses made on site and receive them the same day.
Angel’s teachers told Kwame she was disengaged at school, struggled to be attentive during lessons and seemed to be falling behind. “We all know she is a smart and happy girl,” Kwame said. “It turned out she was having trouble seeing the chalkboard! Simple!”
Angel enjoys coming to KATH every year. ”Everyone here is nice and they let me pick whatever glasses I want!” she exclaimed. She picked a pair of rectangular frames that lit up her face and complimented her big wide, toothy grin.
Providing refractive services, such as glasses, has helped Angel and others like her have a clearer future.