Eye patients in the Eastern Province can bid farewell to long journeys to Kabgayi Eye Hospital as a new eye center is set to be established at Gahini Hospital. On Thursday, July 20, officials broke ground for the new eye center, aiming to not only save patients from long distances but also ease the burden on Kabgayi Hospital. ALSO READ: Eye health: The essence of early diagnosis and treatment Valued at Rwf 900 million, including cutting-edge equipment, the upcoming Gahini eye hospital will serve as a central hub for comprehensive eye care services in the Eastern Province. It is poised to offer diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for the blind and visually impaired individuals. Jean-Paul Sindikubwabo, the head of the eye-care department at Gahini Hospital, emphasized that out of the ten district hospitals in the Eastern Province, only Gahini Hospital had a resident ophthalmologist. This has been a significant challenge for patients seeking eye care services, but with the introduction of the new eye-care center, this scenario is set to change. We have experienced a surge in admitted patients, increasing from 150 to 350 every month, due to being the sole eye care provider in the province. The new eye center will markedly improve the quality of eye care services in the area, provide adequate space for patients to rest after surgeries, and help prevent further vision loss and disabilities, Sindikubwabo said. The soon-to-be-constructed hospital will address critical issues such as the lack of operation theaters, specifically catering to the treatment of eye diseases in children. Eye care Expert Egide Gisagara pointed out that, according to the latest Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness, The Eastern Province is home to over 4,000 blind individuals, defined as those who cannot see within 3 meters using their eyes with proper visualization. The number of individuals with mild visualization exceeds 10,000. With such a significant number of blind and visually impaired individuals, accessible and well-equipped eye care services are crucial. Eugenie Mukantagwera, the Country Director of CBM, who played a vital role in mobilizing funds in partnership with Kayonza district, highlighted that We chose Gahini because of their pioneering efforts in eye care treatment and the strategic location of the hospital, enabling patients to access essential services with ease. According to Kayonza District Mayor John Bosco Nyemazi, the hospital is expected to be completed within a year. He emphasized that the hospital's completion will accommodate the growing demand for eye care, providing a safer place for the equipment used in operations and treatments. Upon completion, the hospital is projected to offer 35 beds for patients, equipped theater rooms, and comfortable resting areas for patients after surgery. Additionally, the number of patient consultations is expected to increase from 4,000 to 20,000. ALSO READ: Rwandans tipped on eye health Petronille Musabyemariya, an eye patient who spoke to The New Times, expressed her relief, saying, Previously, eye patients in need of surgeries had to undertake long journeys to Kabgayi hospital during medical transfers, particularly if the patient had limited mobility. She added, With the establishment of the new eye center at Gahini Hospital, we can now receive essential eye care services closer to our homes. I used to spend Rwf 10,000 from Cyarubare to Gahini; it would have cost me much more to travel to Kabgayi in case my eyes needed surgery. This hospital will be incredibly beneficial to us.