A new hospital specializing in eye treatment has opened its doors in Kampala as its owners have promised to support local professionals to upgrade and be able to do specialized eye treatment.
Dr Amar Agarwal, the chairman and managing director of the Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, said apart from the hospital’s aims at eradicating blindness in the country, it will also help in building capacity for local ophthalmologists so that they can be able to carry out surgeries in Uganda without referring patients abroad.
“We have the best facilities here and we have five top doctors who can do the skills transfer; basically we are going to encourage doctors from Uganda to take up this opportunity. If the government recommends some to us, we will train them. Some will be sent to India for further training,” he said.
Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, opened by health minister Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, comes at a time when Uganda is grappling with increasing cases of eye disease and blindness.
Reports from Mulago national referral hospital indicate there are 4,000 Ugandan children with severe vision impairment. The commissioned hospital has an initial investment of $2m (about 7bn) and in the second phase, a network of six satellite hospitals will be set up across the country.
Agarwal was speaking during last week’s launch of the hospital on Lumumba avenue in Kampala. The facility already treats up to 12 patients a day in less than a week since it opened its doors.
“There are many people who need medical treatment and other complicated surgeries but cannot get the services in Uganda so they are referred to countries like India to receive the medication and this is a big problem. The hospital will help reduce these transfers and costs,” Agarwal said.
Prof Kenneth Kagame, the hospital’s medical director, said advanced eye care services such as ICL implantation, and Lamellar Keratoplasty will now be available in Uganda.
“We realized more than 100,000 Ugandans are blind; so, we are going to work with the Ministry of Health to see that some 100 are treated by us for free; we have other specialised services to be offered, including diabetic retiphany investigations and treatment”, as well as eye cancer diagnosis and treatment, Kagame said.