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IGLSA, Lions Club sign MoU to raise fund for Eye Care Hospital worth N3.5bn

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Institute for Governance and Leadership Studies in Africa, IGLSA, and the Lions Club International Multiple District 404 Nigeria have signed a memorandum of understanding to raise fund for the establishment of 3.5billion naira Eye Care Hospital, Diabetes and Cancer Research Centre in Nigeria.

At the MoU signing between the aforementioned organisations tagged,”Fund Raising of the Construction of the 3.5 Billion Lions Club International Eye Care Hospital, Diabetes and Cancer Research Centre,” Thursday in Abuja, the District Governor, District 404A2, Nigeria, Jide Bello said he was delighted that the epic event was happening in his time as District Governor of 404A2 of which Abuja is a part.

He revealed that the purpose of the Lions Club is to promote the principles of good government and good citizenship.

Bello lamented the prevalence of cataract which he said is the commonest cause of accounts for 65% blindness in the country.

He said,”I am indeed happy to welcome every one today for this very August occasion in August. I am particularly delighted that this epic event is happening in my time as District Governor of 404A2 of which Abuja is a part of the District. It’s my delight as host DG to welcome all of us to this Occasion.

“Our purpose as Lions Club members is to promote the principles of good government and good citizenship. To take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community. To unite the clubs in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship and mutual understanding. And in doing so, The Lions Clubs International has 5 main service goals which are; Diabetes, Vision, Hunger, Environment and Childhood Cancer.

“Cataract is fast becoming the commonest cause of blindness, Prevalence of cataract-related blindness accounts for 65% blindness while glaucoma-related blindness accounts for the rest. Increasing in age is equally associated with increasing prevalence of all major blinding conditions.

Diabetes on the other hand is becoming the highest killer non-communicable disease worldwide, About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. Both the number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes have been steadily increasing over the past few decades. In Nigeria, It is estimated that 11.2 million Nigerians (1 out of every 17 adults) are living with the disease.

“In as much as this statistics are very worry all of us, I am very optimistic that with the completion of this Lions Eye Care and Diabetes Research Centre, sucour will be provided for the Nigerian and indeed West African populations in need of these care.

The Director General, IGLSA, Dr Lanre Adebayo appreciated the Lions Clubs International Multiple Districts 404 Nigeria for the initiative, which he said underscores the fact that there are Nigerians who are committed to pursue common good, adding that they are those who are driven by that desire to make Nigeria a better place notwithstanding her national challenges.

He acknowledged that the Lions Clubs International Multiple Districts 404 Nigeria is exemplary in its commitment to humanitarian cause, adding that “although this Project has been the most ambitious in the history of the Club in Nigeria, the Club had made commendable and successful interventions in different aspects of our national live.

“I wish therefore to appeal to Nigerian Leaders and the youths in particular not only to appreciate the Club for its worthy contributions, but to use these as a model of our collective attitudes towards solving the Country’s many challenges.”

He revealed that the decision to establish the Eye Hospital, Diabetes and Cancer Research Centre is to further scale up the humanitarian work of the Club in Nigeria.

“Indeed, this is one among the three of such Centres in Africa. While the other two are already functional, the Nigerian Centre is yet to be built,” he said.

Adebayo decried the fact that an estimated 1.13 million Nigerians above 40 years are currently blind while 4.25 million adults are partially blind, pointing out that these figures are national average, there is a higher prevalence in many of the States especially in the core Northern States.

He recalled that according to a recent survey, a major cause of blindness is cataract and glaucoma, adding that these account for about 88.8% of blindness. Experts argue that 86.7% of causes of blindness are avoidable.

He said,”A recent investigation shows that the ratio of eye services in relation to Nigeria’s increasing population is grossly inadequate. Indeed, Abuja and the entire Federal Capital Territory do not currently have any reputable public eye clinic.

“The few private ones are expensive and beyond the reach of the common man. Our investigation further revealed that most people with eye diseases have had to travel to Kano for quality services at affordable cost.

“It should be noted that the eye care has never attracted adequate public policy attention and it is always a casualty in periods of economic down turn. In any case, even the public sector has never satisfied the health needs of any country.

“The purpose of these fundraising efforts is to provide individual Nigerians, the Federal and State Governments, the organized Private Sector and the international Community a platform to contribute to this philanthropic effort, to build a Centre of excellence in eye care and related areas in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory which belongs to all Nigerians.”

Adebayo stressed that the project was selected after a comprehensive community needs assessment, and its overall focus is to fill in the identified gaps in the following areas: Preventable blindness, Diabetes, awareness and management.

He further disclosed that some of the activities to raise funds include the following:

“A World Press Conference to formally unveil the all the activities
“Exhibition of hospital equipment, pharmaceutical products, related chemical products etc.

“Golf Tournament

“Major Fund Raising Event

“International Awards to honour individuals and corporate organisations for their support.”

He also said that the events are to raise funds to establish a world class eye care service centre in Nigeria, establish a global standard Eye Bank in Nigeria, reduce incidences of corneal blindness, cataracts, glaucoma and other eyes diseases, reduce avoidable childhood and old age related blindness as well as patients with late-stage diabetic retinopathy.

Others include to encourage periodic eye examination not only among adults or the aged but also among children, and improve service delivery in the management of eye care and diabetes.

The IGLSA DG assured that in the next couple of weeks, they would be selecting and contact Champions for this project.

According to him, the champions would include individuals, governments, political and civic leaders and the private sector.

He said these would be unveiled at the world press conference which would hold at a date to be announced later next month.

He appealed to Nigerians not only to support, but to contribute to the construction of the humanitarian project.

The highpoint of the event was the signing of the MoU between the IGLSA and Lions Club International.

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