Uche Usim, Abuja
Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF) in Abuja, a facility established to provide both free and billed eye surgeries and general treatments has said that Nigeria will save about $1bn annually that is currently being pent on offshore medical tourism.
It also said 60 per cent of its services will be free of charge as they are targeted at the less privileged and vulnerable Nigerians; while 40 per cent will be paid for by wealthier clients.
Speaking at a pre-commission press briefing, the Founder and Trustee of the Foundation, Mr Jagdish Chanrai assured that the facility is also expected to improve healthcare opportunities for complicated eye patients at a subsidized rate in the country, rather than going offshore to procure such specialized services.
According to him, “eradicating curable blindness not only offers a person the gift of sight, but more importantly, restores livelihood thereby immediately and favourably impacting economic output across the nation. It is estimated that a US $1 invested in eye-care produces multifold effect on economic output”, he explained.
Chanrai added that the state-of-the-art eye hospital bridges the gap of lack of a facility in Nigeria and West Africa to tackle eye challenges that have made some sufferers go blind. He noted that the hospital will adopt modern techniques to prevent blindness and treat various eye conditions, through hospital-based and outreach activities.
He said the management has a system used in identifying vulnerable Nigerians in remote villages where they are transported free of charge for free eye treatment and taken back to their destinations.
On funding, he said the bulk of the money used in running the place comes from the Chanrai family, while other donors also help out. The hospital is run largely by a Nigerian team of 30 eye professionals who have recently undergone intensive training in India.
The facility will be managed by the globally renowned Aravind Eye Care System of India, the largest provider of quality eye-care in the world, the CEO stated further.
The hospital commenced full operations in January 2019 and till date has provided eye services to over 6,400 out patients and performed over 1000 eye surgeries, of which 850 have been free for the poor.
“When at full capacity, the state-of-the art hospital will have the capability of performing around 15,000 surgeries per annum, with every effort being made to set a good standard for eye-care across Africa”, Chanrai said.