First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has praised the outstanding services being offered at Lions Sight FirstEye Hospital in Loresho, Nairobi.
The First Lady said the institution has done an excellent job in its pursuit of research and training to build a “cohort of medical students and doctors”.
“Yours is a sustainable approach that has the only eye bank in East and Central Africa that stores corneas for use in corneal grafting,” she said.
Speaking at the hospital Monday afternoon, the First Lady said the hospital’s innovative approaches of looking into causes; prevention and treatment have strategically positioned Lions SightFirst Eye Centre as a model centre in the region.
The centre offers comprehensive healthcare services to millions of less fortunate members of society.
“Today, the entire eastern Africa region is benefiting from high-quality care at highly-subsidised costs,” said the First Lady.
She pointed out that in its mission to eradicate preventable blindness, the centre recognised the devastating effects of uncontrolled diabetes as a major cause to blindness.
“Diabetes is a major health challenge for millions of Kenyans. I thank Lions for establishing a Diabetes Day Care Centre, and advocating lifestyle changes that combat the disease,” the First Lady said.
She also commended the Centre for helping children with eye problems through its Sight for Kids programme, which she said has saved many children’s future by protecting and restoring sight to thousands of them.
“Thank you for making a difference to their lives, and for extending training to teachers and care givers to help early identification,” the First Lady said.
While voicing her desire to support the Centre’s mission to eradicate preventable blindness, the First Lady expressed confidence that with its dedication and commitment demonstrated over the years the Centre will “touch more lives”.
She pointed out that in the 20 years of the institution, it has extended services to more than 2.5 million patients in the region.
“What started out in 1997 as a modest eye care facility, restoring sight, performing cataract and minor eye surgeries is today a vibrant institution with departments that profess a wide range of facilities from the General Medical Clinic to the Eye Surgery, the Diabetic Clinic and Eye Bank,” said the First Lady.
She lauded the Centre’s commitment to its distinguished cause of eradicating preventable blindness, saying it truly demonstrates how universal access to affordable healthcare is an achievable goal for Kenya
“Blindness has a significant effect not only on the individual, but on families and communities,” the First Lady pointed out.
“Your work has helped restore hope and dignity to millions of people. You have averted many situations of dependency, and through your outreach efforts, extended services to the needy in rural counties as well as informal settlements,” she said.
Lions Club International President Naresh Aggarwal called on Kenyans and other well-wishers to donate eye corneas to help enhance the Centre’s capacity to serve more people.
Currently the Centre imports live corneas from Sri Lanka, India and US, among other countries, and the Centre finds it challenging to meet local demand.
Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital Chairman Lion Manilal Dodhia said with the help of the Lions International Foundation, the hospital is in the process of establishing 4 Vision Centres in four counties.
“The vision centres will be manned with equipment and personnel to treat minor eye ailments and only refer complicated cases to this hospital in Loresho,” said Dr Dodhia.
He commended the government for its efforts to have all Kenyans access universal healthcare, saying the move by the National Health Insurance Fund to cover eye surgeries has enabled many patients to access services in public hospitals and also at the SightFirst Eye Hospital among other private owned health facilities.