SAYS DR ZAKAREA AL-HASAN BALURE WITH THE READERS HUB (SOCIAL CONVO)
Tonight, on THE READERS HUB SOCIAL CONVO session, we are happy to engage another top brass Medical Professional with vast adept knowledge in Optometrist. He has contributed so much to the society in the field of Eye Care. With the help of one of our finest moderators-Haadi Bachang, he will take us through the journey of his life thus far, and how he has been able to ‘restore’ the sight of many people in the society.
Doctors of Optometry are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries and disorders of the visual system, the eye and its associated structures as well as identify related systematic conditions affecting the eye. Thus, the primary role of an Optometrist is to ‘restore’ the sight of their patients and or give professional advice where necessary. To this end, people prefer to call them “Spectacle Doctors”, to wit.
Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome our personality for tonight’s Social Convo
Haadi: Doctor, you are welcome to the READERS HUB Social Convo
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Thank you. Most honoured to be on the hot seat this evening
Haadi: Is it that hot? (Smiles)
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: From the previous Convos it has really been hot. (Smiles)
Haadi: Please introduce yourself to our Readers
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: My name is Dr Zakarea Al-hasan Balure. A doctor of optometry and a sissala by tribe from the beautiful village of Funsi in the Wa-East district of the Upper West Region.
Haadi: Did you school in your beautiful district? (Smiles) Kindly walk us through your educational background.
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Unfortunately, I did not. I started my basic school at experimental school, now Wa model. Left for Jujeidayiri Primary when the shift system started. Attended Datus Complex in Accra. – a boarding school. I finally finished up my basic education at New Oxford international in Kumasi. Then gain admission to Opoku Ware School to read Science. Completed my education at KNUST where I read Optometry
Haadi: Marvelous! You are an alma mater of many schools. From the schools attended; you seem to be from an affluent background and one may be tempted to say you had it rosy,
a). Kindly take us through your journey
b). any childhood memories in the boarding house and others?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Affluent; I will say a big NO. Fortunately; I had a dad who was ready to forgo his trousers to make me reach where I found myself today. His dream was truncated slightly as his business as a licensed Chemist went nose diving so I was withdrawn from the boarding school to Kumasi to attend a day school.
My first day in Datus at a tender age was something I was happy about until my dad turned to leave me alone in the school. There I felt a bit lonely. In fact, I was just like any other local boy from Wa. But everybody was rattling the English Language. I realized I have to learn fast to cope with my colleagues in class.
Haadi: Okay (smiles)
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Amidst the initial inferiority complex that nearly marred my stay in Datus, I was among the best students by the close of academic term.
Haadi: Wow! Bravo!
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: This feat rejuvenated my spirit and gave me more encouragement. On this score, I think inferiority complex can really help trigger one to do great things
Haadi: How was life at the secondary school?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Scary my brother.
Haadi: Was the ‘Datus’ experience repeated?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Again, and again. But gracefully I secured a Ghana Government Scholarship after my first year.
Haadi: Wow! Impressive!
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Basically, awarded on merit. So, I sailed through Owass without paying any fees besides my first year in school.
Haadi: You be shark oo (smiles)
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: It’s by the grace of God my brother and a dint of hard work. And even by virtue of being a Northerner, I was entitled to the Northern Students Scholarship but I was denied after I endorsed the forms for the accounts department, on grounds that I cannot enjoy the two scholarships.
Haadi: Doctor of Optometry, please take us through what your career entails and any other work experiences you have had in the past years.
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Optometry is an eye care profession that entails all others protocols to get the individual an efficient eye health exclusive of surgery. Basically, optometrists are much more into vision of an individual. We screen for visual defects and get the appropriate remedy for the diagnosed condition. That is why most people see us as ‘Spectacles Doctors’. (Smiles)
It must be noted however that, we do more than just spectacles; we treat eye infections and counseling on low vision as well
Haadi: My eyes are itchy (smiles)
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Get to the nearest eye clinic my brother
Haadi: Where do you work? With GHS or a Medipreneur?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Both. I work at GHS as the Regional Eye Care Coordinator. I manage all eye care activities in the region especially gathering operable eye cases and liaising to get an ophthalmologist to come and operate. The region has been without a resident ophthalmologist (doctor who operates on eyes). So, we have to always contract one from a different region to come and operate on the cases identified across the region in their respective districts. And as Medipreneur, I am the chief servant at Bliss Eye Care located in Wa
Liaising – the region has been without a resident ophthalmologist (doctor who operates on eyes). Hence, we routine contract one to come in and operate on the cases identified across the region in their respective districts
Haadi: Chief servant at Bliss Eye Care. Tell us about the role of the chief servant, Bliss Eye Care and what the chief servant and Bliss Eye Care accomplished together so far
Dr. Zakarea Abature’s am the optometrist cum optician at Bliss Eye Care. It has been in inception since 2015.We have treated and provided vision care to over 6,000 clients at Static Clinic. And over 10,000 basic school children through its social work via its humanitarian wing Blissful Sight for Kids. Services rendered to the children are absolutely free of charge. ( https://www.watchghana.com/en/details/11423/blissful-sight-for-kids-project-screens-1074-children-in-kperisi).We also went into a couple of collaborations with my village Michael Jackson (Wiyaala ) to provide eye care to the vulnerable in the society.( https://youtu.be/-Rb6biLXyI4)
Haadi: Splendid and impressive records. What are some of the leadership positions you have held and did you encounter some challenges and how did you solve them?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Regional Eye Care Coordinator for GHS.Board Member for NHIA Wa East. Executive Member of Rotary Club, Wa Chapter. Just to mention but a few. It has not always been easy with a ‘small body’ in stature and age to lead people mostly who can father you. Mostly it has always a tough challenge but we try our best.
Haadi: You seem to have one of a unique personality and leadership style that attracts people towards you. What do you do different from others?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: I listen attentively to the concerns of my audience. Assists them to address the problems. And I make friends with all age of people no matter your social status or economic background. I see learning in every situation I encounter. Definitely respect bequeathed respect the old adage says
Haadi: Good! Any experience in youth empowerment or mentorship?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: I have been a resource person on a couple of seminars organized by the Youth Authority in WA. Through Bliss Eyecare I have mentored most young optometrist in Wa and routine invite to KNUST. It has always been my fondest wish for some to stay but unfortunately, they are yet to find a couple of reasons to stay in the Upper West Region. I have also funded the production of 30 steel dual desk for the primary 1 and 2 of Funsi RC primary school. This was after I went to provide free eye care only to realize that they sit on the floor to write.
Haadi: Wow! Interesting. From your experience, what is your position regarding youth empowerment from our senior fellows who have excelled in their field of practices?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Personally, I think most of our senior fellows are willing to do their part but the younger ones are not showing optimum interest in work. It’s pathetic sometimes seeing young colleagues thinking it’s all about the certificate.
Haadi: Before we take questions from Readers. What are your hobbies?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Reading, Scrabble, Lawn tennis and Community service
Haadi: Interesting. As a Reader on THE READERS HUB page, any book you read worth sharing with us?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: The big picture – Ben Carson, No excuses- Brian Tracy, Long Walk to Freedom- Nelson Mandela, The African Agenda- Dr Camynta Baezie
QUESTIONS TIME WITH OUR READERS FROM (THE READERS HUB)
Bassing. A.M.A. Kamal: Please Dr….Is the work you do at GHS different from that of Bliss Eye Care?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Yes please! At Ghana Health Service, I coordinate to bring surgical eye care services which is lacking in the region due to the absence of a resident ophthalmologist. I did have a practical experience from the NGO that managed eye care services in the region in the 90’s, so I was given that role to continue the service. Optometry is one of the young disciplines under the GHS, hence yet to see breakthrough under the public sector However, at Bliss Eye Care it’s basically optical and primary eye care services.
Lawyer Hammer: What is hypertension of the eye?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Having a raised eye pressure above the normal range of 10-21mmmhg.Mostly a sign of glaucoma.
Haadi: Please explain in English (smiles)
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: mmHg- millimeters per mercury. (Smiles)
Joseph Wereh: I started having problem with my eyes four years ago and I wasn’t paying attention until I went back to school where I can’t read. I can’t look into a book for two minutes; the writings are not clear to me and water begins to come out of my eyes.
I am currently in glasses. Doctors told me my eyes don’t have any problem but then, I may be in the spectacles for life. But right now, even with the spectacle on, I sometimes still find it difficult. Is there a way I can work on this please?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: It baffles me for the Doctor to say there is no problem with your eyes. Eyeglasses are given to solve a problem. I suggest you seek a second opinion. Let’s talk afterwards. I could help you out.
Bassing. A.M.A. Kamal: Please Dr….Are there some possible signs to indicate that one is likely to get an eye defect and what measures should one take to prevent a possible eye defect?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Red eye, discharges, reduced vision, seeing flashes of light in line of vision, double vision. As regards the precautionary measures to take against eye defect, undergo regular eye checks from a qualified eye doctor annually, eat well balanced diet, take enough rest for the body, do not stress the eyes and do not self-medicate, (even though every Ghanaian home has a self-acclaimed doctors-It is dangerous!)
Anonymous: At what stage did you develop interest in Optometry and what are the requirements if one has to be an Optometrist? The passion to offer Optometry at the Tertiary level came to mind when I got back home after my Secondary School. I had a job at the Red Cross optical shop in Wa whilst waiting for my results. Initially Pharmacy or Architecture was my core interest. But God thought otherwise, and I am happy he did. Requirements include a good pass in the Science course at the Secondary School Level-Chemistry Elective Math, Biology Physics and the core subjects.
Ismail Nuhu: Dr. What could be the possible problem with a person with red eyes?
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: Conjunctivitis or what is commonly referred to in the local parlance as Apollo. Foreign object in the Eye, lack of sleep, trauma or injury to the eye.
Haadi: It has been an interesting Session with you, Doc, and we are so much grateful for making time out of your busy schedule to engage with us this evening. We have to let you rest after a hectic week.
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: It’s pleasure to share my little experiences.
Haadi: kindly give us your concluding remarks.
Dr. Zakarea A. Balure: The eye is the window to this world. Without it, there will be chaos. As much as possible, we should try our best to keep it in good state. Until now there was no spare part for the eye, so let’s all take good care of the pair that the good lord has blessed us with.
Thanks for the audience!
Haadi: Readers, this is where the train stops for tonight’s Social Convo.Meet you again same time next week for another session.
NB: Please don’t forget to share after reading for others to also benefit.
Hub Editor: Bassing. A.M.A. Kamal.