Last week, we experienced the thrill of opening a new facility for Watborg Eye Services, just outside of Ghana’s capital city of Accra. This is an important development for Operation Eyesight, and we hope our supporters are as excited as we are. As I mentioned in last week’s post, this hospital has the potential to set new standards and benchmarks for eye care in Ghana and throughout Africa.
Equally remarkable is how this project was accomplished through friendship between Canadians and Ghanaians. It started some years ago when Operation Eyesight became acquainted with ophthalmologist Dr. Boateng Wiafe. Our original support for Watborg Eye Services grew into an enduring relationship with Bo, leading to his appointment in 2009 as Operation Eyesight’s Regional Director for Africa.
More recently, the Taylor family of Calgary came to learn of Bo’s work, and they agreed to work with him to build something new. Don Taylor is president of Engineered Air, a market leader in heating, ventilation and air conditioning in North America. His son Cameron, who attended the opening, is president of Sherwood International Capital Limited. This family has a deep concern for the people threatened by blindness in Africa, and their generosity was a major factor in the completion of the new Watborg Eye Services facility.
To put this in perspective, I’d like to quote Pat Ferguson, president and CEO of Operation Eyesight: “The Taylors’ very generous donation for Watborg’s new facilities will strengthen Ghana’s eye care system and ensure those living in the area, regardless of income, have access to the best possible care. Operation Eyesight is focused on building support for sustainable eye health initiatives among threatened populations in Africa and India. For the poor in these countries, visual impairment is more than a disability – it’s a direct threat to life.”
Speaking of Canadians who care about Ghana, we’d also like to thank the Government of Canada which also made a large investment in the project through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Now that the hospital has reached this major milestone, Watborg’s ongoing success will depend upon excellence in day-to-day running. Much of that will fall to the nurses, of which I was one myself once. May 6 to 12 is International Nurses Week – a time to recognize the many contributions that these professionals make in the smooth running of any medical facility. I know Dr. Wiafe would agree with me. Best of luck to them all.