There was joy in Nkpor community, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, on December 15, when a world class eye specialist hospital was officially opened in the area.
The hospital, christened Centre for Sight Africa, at Km 4, Nkpor-Umuoji Road, built by an illustrious son of the area, Dr. Stanley Okoye, a consultant ophthalmologist, in collaboration with Sharp Sight, India, and others, is the first of its kind in the area.
Governor Willie Obiano, who inaugurated the project, said that it would drastically reduce medical tourism in the country, particularly in the state.
Represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala, the governor commended Dr. Okoye for attracting the world class eye specialist hospital in the state and promised to introduce a health insurance scheme in the hospital, so that the less privileged can access eye care.
Anambra State chapter president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Damian Okeke Ogene, said that majority of people living in rural areas experience one form of eye problem or the other, and urged the people to avail themselves of the opportunity to get medical attention at low cost.
In his remarks, managing director/CEO of the hospital, Dr. Okoye, said he was motivated to establish the centre to assist the less privileged in the area.
“Sometime ago, when I was in India for a short postgraduate training, I saw how they were handling cataract treatment so that the poor could get it at much reduced cost. Being a specialist in the US, where the cost of eye treatment is very high, I told myself that we could replicate the Indian experience in our area, so that the poor could afford treatment. That was how this place came to be.
“In this hospital, we charge a mere one-fifth of what it costs in any other hospital to carry out surgeries and treat any eye problem,” he said, adding that the centre handles phaco cataract, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, complete eye examination, laser surgery and aesthetic medicine.
“We have all it takes, in terms of equipment and manpower, to provide the best eye care services. With the equipment in our hospital here and another in Benin, Centre for Sight Africa can boast of being the highest volume cataract centre in the whole of Nigeria; and will be doing 200-250 surgeries in a space of six weeks,” he added.
An eye patient in the hospital, Mrs. Cecilia Ugwu, told Daily Sun that before her eye surgery on December 14, she could see hand motions only, but one hour after the cataract surgery, she was able to see distinct objects.
Another patient, Okechukwu Anigbogu, claimed that when he was coming to the hospital days back, there was no hope that he would regain his sight, as doctors in other hospitals told him there was no hope; but that after surgery at the Centre for Sight Africa, his vision was gradually restored.
Earlier, in a sermon during a church service to mark the commencement of the event, Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Basil Ucheonye applauded Dr. Okoye for his vision in establishing the hospital. He tasked staff of the hospital on good ethical practice that would help the place achieve the purpose for which it was established.