Comm Eye Health Vol. 19 No. 57 2006 pp 14. Published online 01 March 2006.

Getting over the histopathology barrier

Michael Ekuoba Gyasi and Oscar Debrah

Bawku Presbyterian Hospital, Bawku, Upper East Region, Ghana.

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In many developing countries, specialised laboratory services are simply non-existent. Where they exist, they are usually limited to large hospitals. The distance and the cost of accessing such specialised services, place enormous barriers to remote eye care facilities and the patients they serve. In Ghana, getting histopathology tests done could take as long as three months. In our case, the patient has to send it to the nearest facility, located some 600 kilometres away. Such a situation meant that most ophthalmic specimens simply never saw the microscope at all. That is why we felt relieved when a global mail was sent by the Vice President of our Ophthalmological Society, introducing members to a free histopathology service at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in the UK.

Through such collaboration, we now have a free and reliable ophthalmic histopathology service with results delivered within a few days through email. Packaging materials and guidelines are provided free, with only outward postage paid by the beneficiary institution.

Visiting the centre recently, however, I realised that only a fraction of clinics in Africa have taken advantage of this facility, despite the obvious benefits derived from histopathologic evaluations.

This International Ophthalmic Histopathology Service, is accessible to all developing countries. The centre can be contacted through the following address:

Dr Hardeep Mudhar, Ophthalmic Pathology, Department of Histopathology, E-Floor, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2JF, UK. Tel: (+44) 0114 2268967. Email: hardeep@mudharh.fsnet.co.uk