Outreach & Community Services
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Over the years, the Department of Optometry and Visual Science of the College of Science, in conjunction with District and Municipal Assemblies, Schools, churches, community and opinion leaders, NGOs and international partners has been providing much-needed, high quality vision care in the form of eye screening activities and ocular health education to many rural, urban and peri-urban communities in Ghana.
Thousands of people, often in hard-to-reach areas of the country have benefitted from free eye examination, ocular health education, medication and either free or highly subsidized spectacles. Numerous blinding conditions like glaucoma, cataract have also been identified and referred to nearest eye clinics where they receive comprehensive eye examination, surgical and medical interventions and continuity of care. This has been the main way of giving back to the society while introducing our student-clinicians to Community Service, and to let them experience at first hand, the level of eye care need in the Ghanaian society, particularly in the rural areas.
These activities have largely been irregular and undertaken when we got the needed support. As a result of this, the Outreach Unit of the Department was officially launched on 17th February, 2014 at the KNUST Basic School and reintroduced to Ghanaians. The launching is in line with the Vice-Chancellor's vision for the University and a reorientation of our outreach activities. The Outreach Unit has since been made available year-round so that individuals, groups, and the general public can apply to make use of its services. It is also intended to be a fulcrum around which our core mandates as a Department are discharged.
To us, it offers the opportunity to enhance the training of our students in hands-on community service and primary eye care, inculcate the spirit of service and volunteerism as well as engage in relevant actionable research activities to help reduce visual impairment as a key way of ensuring socio-economic development. Visual impairment and visual disability cause people to lose economic livelihoods and independence. It also prevents children from deriving maximum benefit from educational opportunities and vocational and avocational training. Helping people to see better, become economically active, productive and independent and helping reduce visual impairment in children could therefore be key to achieving Vision 2020: The Right to Sight and the Millennium Development Goals 1, 2 and 6.
These activities are always undertaken with local eye care and other health professionals and health administrators. This ensures that we offer services that complement those given by local eye care professionals in a cordial, co-operative atmosphere. As such, we ensure that we do things with local health professionals who are there to provide continuous service when we have left.
Our services are free of charge. We have always partnered individuals, groups or organisations that are able to provide us with transportation, feeding or accommodation to help us serve the Communities.
To request our services, make enquiries or for more information, please contact:
Dr. Emmanuel Kobia-Acquah
Office: TF3, College of Science Building Complex
Department of Optometry & Visual Science
College of Science, K.N.U.S.T.