By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has commended the efforts and contributions of Tulsi Chanrai Foundation in improving the health of Nigerians especially in eye treatment and provision of water supply for rural communities across the country.
The minister extended the appreciation when he paid a visit to Tulsi Chanrai Foundation Partners in Health (Managed by varenda Eye Service) last Friday at the hospital’s premises in Abuja.
Ehanire said he was impressed by the projects and services rendered to the public, which was being done at half the cost, (50 per cent free) in different parts of the country.
He urged the hospital management to ensure adequate arrangement to sustain the hospitals in states and also to maintenan the water bore-hole facilities built for communities.
Ehanire further told the management of Tulsi Chanrai Foundation that he would appreciate if the presentation made by the group could also be submitted to the members of House Committee on Health in the National Assembly for their use.
Earlier, the Head of Projects at the foundation, Mr. Sirinivas said the group plans to establish an eye hospital in Abuja which will serve as centre of excellence in eye treatment for Nigeria and the rest of West Africa.
He said the hospital will help to address avoidable blindness in the country and ensure capacity building for ophthalmic personnel in the country.
Sirinivas gave a frightening statistics of the situation of things, saying that about 7,000 persons per a million population in the African region become blind every year, adding that this figure is 26 per cent higher than other regions of the world.
In Nigeria, he said that 4 2 per cent of persons of 40 years of age suffer from cataract, adding that cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the country accounting for 43 per cent of total figure.
Speaking on the health outreach program’me undertaken by the foundation, Sirivinas said they have so far performed over 130,000 million eye surgeries in Nigeria.
He also said the foundation has successfully implemented and handed over eye programmes to Imo, Adamawa and Katsina State governments
He added that the group is currently engaged in the implementation of similar eye treatment programmes in Kebbi, and Cross River States where it is targeting to perform 5,500 eye surgeries.
The minister was later taken round to inspect the 54-bed hospital facility location at Kukwaba Cadestral Zone Phase 3 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, built by the group.
Sirinivas informed the minister that the foundation is planning to expand the facility to a 100-bed hospital and to set up a training institute for eye care.