Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Lorie Gibson, former Vice-President of International Programs

Zambia’s new eye hospital a celebration of partnership


We certainly celebrated World Sight Day with style last week… by opening a beautiful new centre for eye health at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia.

This army marching band leads the way from the Zambian Ministry of Health to University Teaching Hospital. The march was part of the opening celebrations for the new centre for eye health.

“My government wishes to express its sincere gratitude to Operation Eyesight, who put in a huge capital-intensive investment to construct this centre,” Zambia’s Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Joseph Kasonde, told a crowd of supporters at the opening event. He added, “This eye centre of excellence will certainly raise the profile of eye health services delivery at UTH and in the country as a whole.”

The original UTH eye clinic was a small and dilapidated heritage building, which needed almost total reconstruction to ensure it met clinical quality standards. Today’s bright and beautiful Ophthalmic Centre will offer ophthalmology specialities for treating pediatrics, vitreo-retinal, anterior segment, and glaucoma, as well as provide community eye health and research. It will train professionals (including ophthalmologists) in various eye health areas, and will provide a research and resource centre for all eye health services in the country.

Not only will this facility increase staff training, improve patient screening and treatment, and realize improved surgical outcomes and productivity, there is also another reason to celebrate its grand opening: it’s a wonderful example of what’s possible when we collaborate with generous donors and governments.

Dr. Boateng Wiafe, Operation Eyesight’s Regional Director for Africa, at the unveiling of a plaque to celebrate the opening of the new eye health centre. The plaque reads “The Ophthalmology Centre was officially commissioned on 27th September 2012 by Honorable Dr. Joeseph Kasonde, Member of Parliament, Minister of Health, Government of Zambia.”

The Ophthalmic Centre is the culmination of eight years of hard work and strong partnerships between Operation Eyesight, Nava Bharat Ventures Limited of Hyderabad, India, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Government of Zambia’s Ministry of Health, and University Teaching Hospital. As our Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Boateng Wiafe, told me, “This was a classic example of true partnership. Every partner brought something to the table to get the work done.”

All of us at Operation Eyesight congratulate and acknowledge the partners and donors who made the construction of the new Ophthalmic Centre possible. We were proud to have been part of this project.

We especially would like to thank Delphin Kinkese, our Zambian country manager, and Dr. Grace Mutati, chief ophthalmologist of University Teaching Hospital, for overseeing the project and ensuring the opening was a huge success.

I know the centre will provide Zambians a great resource within the full continuum of eye care services for many years to come!

The Ophthalmic Centre will initially serve about 1.2 million residents in Lusaka and surrounding areas.

Operation Eyesight has been working to prevent avoidable blindness in Zambia since 1985, and has been supporting University Teaching Hospital since 2005. Where else do we have hospital programs? Find out here.

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