The Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, on Friday inaugurated the upgraded Millennium Eye Centre building at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, Akure.
The building was renovated and upgraded by Lions Clubs International, Multiple District 404 Nigeria.
Commissioning the project, Governor Akeredolu expressed the appreciation of the state government and good people of the State to the Lions Clubs International Foundation for what he called kind and uncommon gesture.
Akeredolu who explained that vision plays a critical role in every facet and stage of human lives, said it is surprising that out of sheer ignorance people take vision for granted, forgetting that without vision, we struggle to learn, walk, read and participate in schooling activities as well as education and to work for a living.
The event was attended by the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa and some members of the State Executive Council. Lion leaders at the event include Past Council Chair, Air Vice Marshal Anthony Okpere; PDG Adekunle Adedipe; In-coming District Governor, District 404A-1, Lion Anogwi Anyanwu; In-coming District Governor, District 404A-2, Lion Jide Bello; In-coming District Governor, District 404B-2, Lion Lekan Owolabi, in-coming First-Vice District Governor, Lion Dr Kofoworola Jegede, Cabinet Officers and Lion members across the Multiple District, 404 Nigeria.
While emphasising that government alone cannot effectively address all the socio-economic challenges calling for attention no matter the amount of revenue accruing to government, Governor Akeredolu used the occasion to call on other public-spirited corporate bodies and individuals with capacity to emulate the Lions Clubs and further intervene in bridging the gap in the public health institution in the State.
“It will be recalled that this is not the first completed project donated to the state by Lions Clubs in the last five years. I personally want to appreciate the leadership of the Lions Clubs, particularly those directly involved in the planning and execution of these projects for accomplishing them in record time. I convey my sincere gratitude to Lion Adedipe and his team for the Dialysis Centre and Lion Jegede and his team for the Eye Centre.
“It is important to note that the resources required to bridge the existing gap in our socio-economic needs are enormous. If government is to commit the entire available resources to only the Eye/Vision/Sight health needs alone, there will still be gaps to be filled. This is because the whole healthcare needs of the State and other essential obligations and services required by the people outside the health sector are enormous”, he added.
Akeredolu who revealed that the risk of inappropriate attention to eye problem is so grievous that it could result in blindness or visual impairment, particularly advised people above 40 years of age to do routine eye evaluation so that the avoidable causes of vision impairment can be picked up and corrected before it becomes a problem.
“We are lucky in Ondo State to have integrated eye health into our health care system and this opportunity of the Lions Club gesture has further brightened our hope for a result-oriented solution in this regard”, the Governor said.
He equally commended all the medical personnel including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and all other allied health workers for their resilience at this trying time and for their passion and contributions to healthcare services in all the government hospitals in the State, assuring them that government is committed to their welfare and the development of healthcare facilities in the State.
Earlier, the Grant Administrator of the Project who is a Past Council Chairman of Lions Clubs International, Multiple District 404 Nigeria, Lion Olumuyiwa Jegede, appreciated the all-round support provided by Governor Akeredolu and other officials of his administration which cascaded into the successful completion of the project.
He specifically said all the inputs of the Governor into the architectural designs of the project kept all engineers and other workers on their toes throughout the project implementation.
Lion Jegede said it was not only that the physical infrastructure of the Millennium Eye Centre has been completed but that the other three arms of the project, which include: Capacity Building of Staff; Injection of State of the Art Equipment; and Organising Quarterly Outreaches in each of the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo State to take four years were on- going.
“The physical infrastructure upgrade was by no means an easy task, this being a renovation of a structure that had had an infestation of termites, leading to a near total collapse of same. Building from the scratch would have provided a better experience and faster in completion. However, the policy guideline of LCIF does not support such in Sight grants.
“As for Capacity Building, Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Ophthalmic nurses and other categories of staff have been trained and continue to be trained. A couple of Doctors and Project team members would soon travel abroad in continuation of the training activities”, he said
With the delivery of the project, the Grant Administrator assured that eye care services in the Sunshine State will henceforth wear a new look in terms of scope and capacity due to the nature of equipment in place in the specialised eye care facility to include the Laser Equipment.
“This is arguably the first time ever this kind of equipment is being domiciled in Ondo State, and it is the one that gives glaucoma patients some semblance of hope from their seeming condemnation to perpetual blindness.
“The objective of this type of intervention by Lions Clubs International Foundation is to take care of the less privileged members of the communities in terms of affordable health care. First it was the Dialysis Centre, now it’s the Millennium Eye Center”, he said.
Lion Jegede equally spoke on the computerisation of all Patient-Health Worker relationship in the facility towards eliminating physical card carrying system with the introduction of an EMR system right from the first interface with the patients to take their records to the stage of visiting the Consultants.
Also, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Banji Ajaka appreciated the Lions Clubs International for the delivery of the project and its unwavering partnership and collaboration with the State Government in the health sector to move the sector forward.
The Chief Medical Director of University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, UNIMEDTH, Dr. Oluwole Ige lauded the Lions Clubs for its humanitarian gestures which he said have always been readily available in form of support to the Teaching Hospital.
On her part, the Multiple District Council Chairperson for Multiple District 404 Nigeria, MCC Idowu Omolola Anobili represented by PDG Taiwo Adewumi said the Lions Clubs International will continue to live by its slogan of providing needed supports wherever such supports are essentially needed.