Sakumono Village fishermen get free eyecare on Farmers’ Day
VisionSpring, a not-for-profit organisation that provides free provides primary eye-care services has organized a free screening exercise in collaboration with the 2022 MBA Marketing graduating class of the University of Ghana Business School and Lotus Optical Centre for the fishermen of the Sakumono village.
The exercise was organised to celebrate and recognize the contribution of farmers and fishermen to the country’s economic growth on the occasion of Farmers’ Day in Ghana
It was aimed at providing clear vision for the fisherfolk to increase their earning capacity and help them stay in their work longer.
This collaboration was in part, the graduating class’ way of “giving back” to society and a part of a more significant aim to improve the vision of workers in industries that are advancing economic growth.
About half of the 550 participants screened were receiving eye care for the first time in their lives. Around 220 of them received free reading glasses and the rest were given eye medication. Joseph Tetteh has been fishing for over 50 years. At 73, his eyesight is failing and he is forced to rely on others to mend his fishing nets. Yet, he has never visited the eye clinic. Tetteh who is very much enthusiastic about his trade even at his age is hopeful his sight will improve with the eyeglasses he has received.
Dr. Collins Asomani, an optometrist and Project Implementation Lead at VisionSpring said his organization aims at normalizing the wearing of eyeglasses for workers for whom clear vision remains critical to their work and trade. “Vision correction enhances worker well-being, while also supporting businesses that rely on their workers achieving high rates of productivity and meeting quality standards to compete in a global market”. Dr. Asomani, in explaining why VisionSpring targeted fisherfolk alluded to the study conducted in Assam, India, among tea pickers over the age of 40 which demonstrated that the provision of glasses improved their productivity by 21.7 percent, and by 31.6 percent for those over age 50.
According to Dr. Sylvia Boamah, an Optometrist and Managing Director of Lotus Optical, a large part of Ghana’s population believe eye care is expensive, hence, their inability to do regular eye checkups. This was echoed by the Chief of Sakumono Village, Matey Nene Sorgbordzor who received reading glasses for the first time in his life. He hailed the organizers for bringing the exercise to his community, adding that, “visiting the hospital can be costly, especially now, so bringing this screening to us here and for free is really great”.
In Ghana, almost one in every four people will require simple pair of reading glasses to see clearly. This is particularly so for Ghanaians in low-income communities who are unable to afford eye care services.
Dr. Asomani, in his closing remarks said “We thank the Lotus Optical Centre for partnering with us in this work, and we invite all those who are working with fishermen to join hands with VisionSpring in sharing the gift of clear sight.