Right to Sight and Health’s mission in Ghana is to establish the Northern Community Eye Hospital to treat everyone in need regardless of ability to pay.
No dependence on external funding for operations and running costs after initial establishment of the NCEH (5-year establishment).
Everyone must get similar quality of care regardless of whether they are paying for the services or getting them for free.
The needs of our community inform all our choices and decisions.
Our model brings together communities, partner agencies, institutions, government and funders to focus on our common goal of success for the NCEH. We develop meaningful collaborations with alignment of values at the heart of each one.
We must preserve the dignity of each person we serve and focus on patient-centered care.
Data is the primary driver of our progress. We use data to continuously improve our work, and to understand and meet the needs of our community.
Right to Sight and Health, Inc., (RTSAH) a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization was established in March of 2007. The founding members (Dr Judith Simon, an ophthalmologist, and Dr Bruce Mintz, an internist with a subspecialty in vascular medicine) organized or participated in several cataract surgery and medical missions starting in 2003 in Mexico, Ghana and Cambodia. They decided to come together and found RTSAH in 2007 to make their work more effective. The organization has two parts, one supporting eye care and another one supporting medical care. Since then, RTSAH completed over 30 cataract surgery and medical missions lasting one to two weeks to developing countries, including Mexico, Ghana, Senegal, Nicaragua, Philippines, Cameroon, Cambodia, and Haiti. It also donated a vast array of medical and ophthalmic equipment, including medical an ophthalmic ultrasounds, slit lamps, YAG laser, operating microscopes, surgical instruments, sutures, thousands of eyeglasses and two ambulances. It also donated a large amount of medications and eye drops on each mission.
In addition to this, RTSAH has been supporting the education of several nurses, medical students and doctors from developing countries over the years and gave support for the renovation of clinics and for eye screening for cataract surgeries.
In 2013 Dr Judith Simon permanently moved to Tamale, North Ghana where she is the head of the Eye Unit in the Tamale Teaching Hospital. Her main motivation was humanitarian. She felt she was not making enough of a difference during her short cataract missions. She wanted to provide continuous care and desired to treat all eye diseases, not only cataracts. She chose the Tamale Teaching Hospital, as there was already a functioning eye unit in place with a large staff but no ophthalmologist. There is a severe shortage of doctors in North Ghana due to extreme poverty, lack of infrastructure, hot weather, distance from capital, etc. Since 2013 the eye care part of the organization is mainly supporting her team’s work with ophthalmic equipment, supplies, medications, glasses, and financial support for eye screening and poor patient’s travel and medication. She also hosts visiting volunteers including medical students, nurses and ophthalmologists on an individual basis.
To make a much larger impact in the eye care of North Ghana, RTSAH embarked upon a project to establish a community eye hospital to be able to provide good quality and affordable eye care to a large segment of the population; The Northern Community Eye Hospital.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Judith Simon, MD
Dr. Judith Simon finished medical school in Hungary in 1988. She completed her training as an ophthalmologist in the US and had been working in private practice in New Jersey for 17 years. She started to participate in eye surgery outreaches in 2002; since then she has organized over 20 missions to different countries in Central America, Africa and the Philippines. In 2013 she permanently relocated to Tamale, North Ghana and presently working at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. In addition to patient care she is training eye nurses, medical students, optometrists and residents and she is organizing outreaches to underserved rural areas several times a year. She is one of 4 permanent ophthalmologists for Northern Ghana with a population of nearly 5 million people.
Dr Tim Kenny
Dr Tim Kenny graduated from Newcastle medical school (UK) in 1983 and then worked as a general practitioner (GP) for many years. During this time he recognised the importance of providing written information to patients about their conditions and began writing information leaflets to print out for them. Over the years this hobby became a more established interest and an extensive collection of evidence based patient information leaflets (PILS) written by Tim became embedded into the EMIS clinical computer system in the UK. In the late 1990s Tim headed a team to develop the widely used website patient.co.uk (now patient.info) to provide an extensive range of health information. In 2012 he became a freelance medical writer, but also took an interest in health care of developing countries. Since then Tim has helped out with a primary health care project in Kenya and supported an eye project in Ghana – visiting both countries on many occasions. He is now retired from medical practice but keen to support the work of Right to Sight and Health.
Dr Jiri Blazek
Dr Blazek graduated from medical school in the Czech republic in 2006 and he had been working as an ophthalmologist and ophthalmic surgeon in a small town until 2022. He held many lectures and wrote numerous articles about multifocal IOLs and other eye topics. A few years into his career he became interested in eye care in developing countries. He did a course in cataract surgery in India and also worked several times in Ghana and Rwanda in rural eye clinics. In the summer of 2022 he moved to Rwanda with his family to provide eye care for a rural community for a year.
Dr John Sandford-Smith
Dr John Sandford-Smith qualified in 1961 from Cambridge University and the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in UK and trained in both general surgery and ophthalmology. Fairly early in his career he worked for four years in a Christian mission hospital in Pakistan which was a very busy and hectic period of his life . He also spent five years in government University teaching hospitals in Nigeria. From 1979 until 2000 he was a consultant ophthalmologist in Leicester UK and an honorary clinical tutor in the medical school and university. He retired from the National Health Service of UK in 2000 and have since been spending about three months every year on outreach eye work and giving practical and hands-on surgical training in various poor and developing countries as a volunteer.
He has also written two books about eye care in the developing world: Eye Diseases in Hot Climates, and Eye Surgery in Hot Climates. These books are the only ones available about these topics and they are now in their fifth and fourth editions respectively. He also has been involved in trying to develop appropriate low cost diagnostic equipment, in particular a direct ophthalmoscope and an indirect ophthalmoscope. This initiative has come in response to the lack of appropriate diagnostic equipment in the hands of the average healthcare worker.
Kevin Miller, MD
Dr. Kevin Miller is an ophthalmologist in Fort Bragg, CA. He completed his
ophthalmology residency in Galveston, TX in 2008. In the year following he
worked with Diego Mejia MD in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Subsequently he
completed a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship at Childrens Hospital Los
Angeles and worked in Africa for 2 years in CCBRT in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he was the pediatric ophthalmology fellowship director. He has an interest in how African and Western ophthalmologists can overcome logistical and cultural barriers and develop relationships of mutual support in treating the poor in Africa.
OUR TEAM IN GHANA
Judith Simon, MD
CEO of the NCEH
Judith Simon MD will be the CEO of the Northern Community Eye Hospital. She will be managing the hospital and will oversee the transfer of funds from Right to Sight to NCEH. She and her team will optimize the efficiency of the clinical work and maximize productiviy the employees. She will be responsible for writing reports and giving feedback to donors.
Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Simon will perform ophthalmological surgeries and train the next generation of eye doctors, surgeons, and ophthalmic nurses so that the NCEH will be sustainable, independent, and directed by Ghanaian healthcare professionals in the future.
Collins Yeboah Asomani, OD
Director of Optical Services
Dr. Collins Yeboah Asomani is an affable young Ghanaian optometrist who has a passion for quality community and clinical eye care. He will serve as the Optometrist at the NCEH. He completed his Optometry training at the University of Cape Coast and his internship at the Tamale Teaching Hospital under the mentorship of Dr. Judith Simon, in 2014. He has worked as Optometrist in charge at the Ghana Red Cross Eye Clinic in Sunyani. He was a semi- finalist in the Tigo Digital Changemakers competition 2015 where he pitched an idea to employ assistive technology to improve the quality of learning and development of children with low vision. He has a special interest in community eye campaigns. Currently, he is the Optical Technical Advisor for VisionSpring, an international eye NGO providing affordable eyeglasses and eye screening for underserved populations all over the world.
Mr Jackson Tabka Kombat
Secretary to the Board
Mr Jackson Tabka Kombat is a Ghanaian born and raised in Nothern Ghana. He completed Nursing Training College with a Diploma in Registered General Nursing at the Tamale NTC. He worked and rose to departmental Head of the emergency unit of Mathias Catholic Hospital based on performance-merited promotion.
He further obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in General nursing at Garden City University College, and another one in Ophthalmic Nursing at the Korle Bu Ophthalmic Training school. Mr Tabka holds an Executive MBA from the Accra Business School and has being working as an Ophthalmic Nurse for the past 5years.
He also has over 10 years of experience in managing his own businesses and served on the Board of Trustees for the Mathias Hospital Staff Provident Fund until his resignation to join NCEH.Mr Tabka has coached and Mentored a number of SMEs into great Success in Business branding, brand marketing, projects management and advertisement among others. He speaks some Northern and southern languages.
OUR TEAM IN AMERICA
Adam Sirois, MPH
Chief Operating Officer, COO for the RTSAH U.S office
Adam brings two decades of development experience to Right to Sight and Health bridging program design and implementation as a technical consultant and health systems professional. His career includes four years of development consulting in Washington, D.C., ten years of global health system strengthening, and seven years of social and clinical research support at New York University and Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel. Adam earned his MPH degree from Johns Hopkins and has a certificate in Comparative Effectiveness Research from the NYU School of Medicine’s Section on Value and Effectiveness (SOLVE). His professional interests include reducing disparities in access to health care, decision science, and behavioral economics. He is thrilled to serve as Right to Sight and Health’s COO in the United States to support the clinicians and healthcare professionals in Tamale to improve people’s health and vision in Ghana.
Bruce Mintz, MD
Dr. Mintz graduated from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1981 and went on to a rotating internship at Grandview Osteopathic Hospital in Dayton Ohio . He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio and subsequently fellowship in Peripheral Vascular Diseases at the same institution. He is board Certified in Internal Medicine and Peripheral Vascular diseases and is currently Clinical Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Rutgers School of medicine in Newark, New Jersey and Director of the Vascular Technology Training program.
He is the Director of the anti-coagulation service at Morristown Medical Center and has had involvement in many trials in Vascular Disease including the ACAS trial for carotid artery disease, the CREST trial and, the co-author of The Atla s of Clinical Vascular Diseases (Wiley).. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer the Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical school, and The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Ohio.
His special interests are “Unusual manifestations of Vascular Disease”, “Deep vein Thrombosis and Thrombophilia” ,“The influence of History, Politics and Art on Medicine and Vascular diseases” and Vascular Diseases in emerging countries.
He is married to Barb Girz DO, MPH and Lives in Mountain Lakes, N.J. He has five children, and four grandchildren. Family interest have been Medical work in Emerging countries . He has worked in Chiapas Mexico, Cambodia, Ghana, Haiti. His special projects include bringing vascular ultrasonography to emerging countries and integrating their use in a primary care setting .