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Celebrating the Life of Dr. Oscar Afari Debrah

news | May 31, 2022

HCP mourns the loss of one of our leaders in Ghana, Dr. Oscar Afari Debrah.

Oscar

Dr. Debrah was affectionately referred to as Ghana’s "Grandfather of Ophthalmology" by colleagues and co-workers. He had a lauded career in eye health inspired by receiving his first pair of glasses.

Dr. Debrah first worked with HCP in 2006, when he was appointed both the Head of Eye Care of Ghana Health Services and the National Coordinator for the Prevention of Blindness Committee in Ghana. When he retired in 2016, HCP’s Co-founder Dr. Geoff Tabin convinced Dr. Debrah to come out of retirement to serve as HCP’s Ghana Country Representative.

During his time as Country Representative, Dr. Debrah was instrumental in helping HCP establish the National Cataract Outreach Program (NCOP). The NCOP furthers national outreach efforts, incentivizing Ghanaian eye care service providers to eliminate the cataract backlog by making surgery accessible to everyone in the country. Dr. Debrah’s efforts led to a formalized HCP partnership with Ghana Health Services and a measurable expansion of the NCOP program. He grew HCP’s Ghanaian implementing partner network from four institutions to thirteen, and led efforts to improve systems, procedures and policies for eye care provision in Ghana. We are indebted to Dr. Debrah for his role in establishing the NCOP and for its successful work addressing the backlog of patients in need.

Dr. Debrah leaves a legacy of thousands of Ghanians living lives free from cataract blindness. Under his leadership, the HCP Ghana Program was able to significantly increase its impact. In 2021, our partners provided just over 12,000 surgeries - almost 3.5 times what was achieved in 2017.

We will miss Dr. Debrah’s leadership, friendship, compassion, and warmth. HCP and our Ghanian partners would not be where we are today without the Grandfather of Ophthalmology guiding us.

“We could not have scaled our program in Ghana without Oscar,” Pam Clapp, HCP’s Senior Program and Training Director said. “He was instrumental in both establishing the National Cataract Outreach Program and expanding HCP’s partner network. He was able to transform our vision into action and he will be truly missed.”

 

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