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Child eye exams can catch other health issues early

news | Ghana | Aug 31, 2022

There are many causes of childhood blindness, including disease, malnutrition, and injury. As HCP has progressively built and strengthened systems of eye care in the countries where we work, additional improvements to more comprehensive health care have followed.

In Ghana, for example, as HCP has focused on strengthening pediatric ophthalmology, the range of pediatric health care services has also grown.

We met Benedict Tselaka when he was screened at the July NCOP outreach in Nkawkaw, Ghana, where he was diagnosed with bilateral congenital cataracts. Benedict is cared for by his grandmother and uncle. At the screening, he was referred to Dr. Doreen Frimpong, pediatric ophthalmologist at Komfo Anokye Training Hospital (KATH) for review and cataract surgery.

Dr. Frimpong and the team at KATH determined that Benedict's congenital cataracts were likely due to a rubella infection. Because the team was able to make the rubella diagnosis, Benedict is getting comprehensive care related to the virus, which can impact the heart and other major organs as well as hearing.

Benedict has been meeting with pediatric specialists across disciplines including cardiology; ear, nose & throat; and ophthalmology. His cataract surgery has been postponed until September to allow for a thorough assessment and approval by the cardiologist since he'll need to go under anesthesia for his cataract surgery. His family has been receiving counseling on how best to support Benedict and his treatment options.

A comprehensive health care assessment for Benedict would likely not have happened had eye screening for Benedict not been available.

 

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