New Christian eye clinic needed in Tema, Ghana.

By July 1, 2004

Ghana (MNN)–180,000 people were estimated to have gone blind in Ghana, out of which 20,000 come from Eastern Region where cataract accounted for 12,000 of the cases.

That’s a startling statistic–but one that only scratches the surface of what’s going on in the whole of the country. According to International Aid, there is a backlog of more than 750,000 people who need cataract surgery in Ghana; a much higher than normal rate of glaucoma; and many cases of debilitating eye diseases due to the vitamin A deficiencies, river blindness and retinal disease common to the area. In fact, one person goes blind in Ghana every eight minutes.

Blindness prevents many from work, which leads to poverty. Multiplied by thousands, and Ghana’s officials see an obvious link between getting out of poverty and basic health care.

As part of their poverty reduction strategy, the Ghanaian government is bringing agencies on board who can help provide a solution.

International Aid’s Sonny Enriquez says they’re helping by setting up a new eye clinic near the capital. “This will be providing two kinds of services. One is the basic eye care service, and then it will provide cataract surgeries, and also, glaucoma treatment.”

Enriquez says the staff in Tema (tehma) witnesses by sharing and caring for the patients. It’s a natural fit. “It’s almost like an instant ‘miracle’. Let’s say you walk into the clinic, blind. After a few hours, you’ll be seeing things, and so this ability to have sight is seen as a miracle. This is a great opportunity for sharing the love of Christ.”

He shares a touching story of one patient. “Roceda was completely blind from cataracts by the time she was 37 years old. She was at the end of her rope.” Enriquez says despair drove her because, “Not only was she unable to work and care for her family, but she had not yet even seen the face of her brand new baby girl. At the prompting of family and friends, Roceda came to the Cape Coast clinic.”

A few hours later, her cataracts were removed, and Roceda gazed into the face of her new baby girl for the first time.

Enriquez says, “The whole clinic stood to their feet, clapping, and praising the Lord for this incredible miracle. Although this is just a routine surgery here in America, getting cataract surgery in Africa, especially if you are poor like Roceda, is nothing short of a real, modern-day miracle.”

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