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The OIA India Eye Care Center was officially inaugurated on Thursday March 20th. The eye care center that was built with an investment of 2.5 million USD was initiated in the presence of President Mulatu Teshome, Minister of Health, Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu and Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA) Chairman Suresh Chaturvedi, among others.
The eye care center was the first of its kind public private partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA), participants at the ceremony said.
“Trade between Ethiopia and India surpassed 1.1 billion USD in 2013. Indian foreign investment is the third highest in Ethiopia at 3 billion USD. The inauguration of the center which was built on a successful public private partnership between the two countries is a true affirmation of conserving the relationship that we have been working to promote for years,” said Mulatu Teshome.
Located in the premises of Zewditu Memorial Hospital, the eye care center is said to have been built with world class standard equipment and the latest technology making it the first kind in the region.
“This center has the most modern diagnostic machines; this will have a huge impact as Ethiopia is a country where 5 million people suffer from the kinds of eye problems that are often preventable,” stated Health Minister Dr. Kesetebirhan.
The center has 15 beds and the facility will offer patients suffering from conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes related eye problems and plastic surgery around the eyes. It also has an in house training center for surgeons, paramedic and administrative staff to build the local human resources and has been built in technical collaboration with an Indian centre of excellence which provides medical advisory and consultancy services.
“We have a vision to steadily increase the capacity in phases to treat 100,000 patients and perform 10,000 sight restoring surgeries at the Centre in about three years and also plan to introduce Mobile Eye Care Clinics in the remote areas,” stated Dr. Rashmin Gandhi, the lead ophthalmologist monitoring the OIA India’s Eye Care Centre.
It was also stated that the center will be providing a subsidized fee for low income patents as well as free services for those with no income.
“OIA India Eye Care Centre will provide world-class eye care facilities to meet our commitment towards corporate social responsibility on a non-profit basis and we believe that the Eye Care Centre will be the pride of Addis Ababa and Ethiopia. The Centre offers holistic and quality health services. We will develop local human resource capacity through training in healthcare by following a service model which is innovative and self-sustainable,” says, Suresh Chaturvedi said.
Dr. Kesetebirhan stated that the income will be reinvested into the center as well as the expansion of similar clinics throughout the country. “Ethiopia has been a leader in public health, particularly in primary care. The rapid expansion of our primary care throughout the country has been celebrated world wide. We are currently on track to achieve all MDGs related to health. The opening of this center will help us move further forward to accomplish more,” he said.
The OIA Chairman in closing stated that the next step for the public private partnership would be establishing a kidney transplant facility.