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Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Nigdi, led by District Governor Rotarian Prashant Deshmukh handed over 10 Phaco Emulsification machines to Dr. Kebede Worku, State Minister of Health.
At the handing over ceremony held at the Sheraton Addis on September 27, they also announced plans to train ten eye surgeons in India by December 2016.
The Rotary club of Nigdi has been gathering funding for the last year through a TRF Global Grant to pay the USD 1.23 million for the machines.
In Ethiopia, Rotary club of Entoto and Rotary club of Bole assisted the successful realization of the project.
After they are distributed to referral hospitals across the nation, the machines are expected to benefit about 450,000 low income cataract patients in years to come.
Ethiopian Airlines is footing the bill for flying the machines from India to Ethiopia and the Ministry of Health is picking up the tab for maintaining them as well as the doctors’ travel expenses to India.
Ten doctors from Ethiopia will also undergo intensive practical training at reputed eye surgery institutes in India, to perform cataract surgery using the Phaco Emulsification Machines. Kebede Worku, State Minister of Health said that the machines will greatly help the hospital serve many people.
“I would like to thank the Rotary Club of Nigdi for the very important assistance because many people are waiting in line for eye operations and there are a limited number of eye doctors and machines,” he said.
Rtn, PP Srikrishna, director of the TRF Global Grant said that the donation will intensify the relationship between India and Ethiopia.
“Helping each other is the greatest thing we can do. In a short period of time we will train Ethiopian surgeons on the use of eye operation machines and we hope they will share it so that many people with eye problems can be served,” he said. In Ethiopia an estimated 1.2 million people are visually impaired and 1.6 million people have low vision.
The major causes of blindness are cataracts (49.9%), trachoma corneal opacity (11.5%) and refractive error (7.8%).
Phaco Emulsification is a modern cataract surgery in which the eye’s internal lens is emulsified with an ultrasonic hand piece and aspirated from the eye. Aspirated fluids are replaced with irrigation of balanced salt solution to maintain the anterior chamber.
Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated human rights purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It’s made up of more than 33,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. The members of these autonomous clubs are called Rotarians, and they form a global network of 1.2 million business and professional leaders. Ethiopia currently has 17 Rotary club.