The King Salman Humanitarian Relief and Aid Center, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with Albasar International Foundation (Makkah Specialist Eye Hospital), has offered free cataract eye surgeries to 800 patients in Kano State.
The free eye surgeries are part of the effort of the foundation and the centre towards the control of blindness in Nigeria and across the world through humanitarian aid and relief in the health sector.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the surgeries in the hospital premises in Kano, the Acting Regional Director and Regional Project Director, Dr Azmat Shah, said the two bodies are known for their humanitarian services by providing affordable and accessible eye health care services at both primary and secondary levels.
Albasar International Foundation is a non-governmental charitable organization working for the prevention of blindness with particular emphasis on Africa and Asia. Established in 1990, Albasar International Foundation operates in three ways; free mobile eye camps, the establishment of specialized eye hospitals, and training institutes.
Through the eye camps, which are usually co-sponsored by a donor/sponsor and the foundation, medical eye services are taken to the doorsteps of the patients who may not afford to come to specialized eye hospitals. During such eye camps, which may be major or minor, medical services including screening, issuance of drugs and optical glasses, as well as surgeries are rendered by the foundation’s mobile medical team.
Based on statistics made available to Daily Trust, from 1994 to 2021, a total of 72 free eye camps were conducted in Nigeria during which 384,979 patients were screened; 30,295 surgeries carried out and 66,720 patients issued with optical glasses.
Also speaking, the Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Kano, Mr Khalil Ahmad Al-Adamawy, appreciated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the great humanitarian aid and also appreciated Kano State Government for supporting the programme.
“These humanitarian activities are part of an expression of the feelings of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the noble direction of the Custodian of the Two Holy sites, King Salman Bn Abdel Azeez and his Highness the Crown Prince, towards its pioneer role of supporting communities across the world.
“The importance of this culminates in the impact of these surgeries in offering a chance for these poor patients who cannot afford the cost of these eye surgeries to regain their sights and become free of the vicious cycle that visual impairment creates around them.
“In this programme, 400 out of 800 surgeries have already been conducted by the medical team, in addition to over 6000 poor patients who were examined and given free medications, while more than 500 reading glasses were distributed to those in need.”
On his part, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, commended King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Albasar International Foundation for choosing Kano for the programme, adding that the Makkah Specialist Eye Hospital under the foundation, has for many years, served Kano and its entire populace with quality eye health care services.
Represented by his deputy, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, the governor urged the patients to appreciate the kind gesture delivered to them. He said the state government is committed to partnering with the hospital for more free eye surgeries.
Some of the patients interviewed expressed gratitude to the centre and the foundation for the kind intervention.