Providing Eye Care in Ghana

History

Jachie Eye Clinic was founded in 2002, mainly as a result of the vision and efforts of Rowland Cowley and Sister Aba. The picture of these two (right) was taken in 2012.

Mr Rowland Cowley OBE MBBS DO FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth
Rowland was born in 1924 and qualified as a doctor in 1947. After 11 years of surgical and ophthalmology training he was appointed consultant ophthalmologist at North Ridings Infirmary, Middlesbrough in 1961.

Roland retired from UK practice in 1984. Within six weeks he was working in Ghana. He met Sister Aba who was training to be a nurse at Agogo Hospital, Ghana in 1987. He continued to work with Christian Blind Mission in Sierra Leone, Togo, Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea. He also worked with BCMS (now Crosslinks) in India.

Rowland recognised that educating and enabling local expertise would produce the greatest impact and health improvement. In 1999 he was awarded the OBE for services to eye care in developing countries. With a vision to serve the people of Ghana, the Jachie Eye Clinic was opened in 2002. Until his death in 2019, even in his late 80’s, Roland still regularly travelled to Ghana to teach and to see patients at Jachie. (Note: Prof Schutte from Germany also visits. But, if any other mission-minded eye professionals would like to get involved, please contact us!)

Sister Aba
Aba qualified as a nurse in 1988 in Ghana. In 1988 she came to Whitby (UK) to become a religious sister of the Anglican Order of the Holy Paraclete.

After spending three years in South Africa, she returned to Ghana in 1998. She managed a fledgling ophthalmic department at Battor Hospital with the help of Rowland Cowley.

The Order were offered a site for a convent in Jachie and the Chief of Jachie offered land for the eye clinic.

Sr Aba is an experienced clinician at the clinic. She has both a Certificate in Tropical Ophthalmology and Diploma in Ophthalmology from Moorfields Eye Hospital. She regularly reviews the most difficult cases at the clinic. She is also the director of the clinic.

Professor Spitznas and his team get involved
In 2019, Prof. Spitznas (a retired German professor of ophthalmology) contacted Aba to propose that the charity that he is involved in (AKTION VOLTA AUGENKLINIK E.V) would donate equipment and training to substantially augment the services at Jachie eye clinic. This was accepted and within a few months, part of the convent near to the Jachie eye clinic was converted into a modern suite of rooms to perform surgery, diagnostics, and laser treatments for eye conditions. Some funding for the conversion of the building was also received from a UK charity Eye Aid for Africa.

From strength to strength
Since 2002 the clinic has gone from strength to strength. The clinic can currently offer a wide range of eye care services and now has 30 employees, including: an ophthalmologist, optometrists, optician, ophthalmic nurses, staff nurses, record officers, accountants, dispensing officer, health assistants, driver.

Page last updated October 2019