The University of Rwanda has launched a high technology optical laboratory that will be used to make optical glasses for patients according to international standards.
The laboratory, that has been established at the University of Rwanda’s School of Medicine and Health Science in Kigali, is a result of a partnership with One Sight Foundation, an Ophthalmology organisation.
According to Vincent Tuzinde, the Director of One Sight Rwanda, the laboratory will use imported materials to make optical glasses suitable for patients as per prescription of the doctors.
“When patients walk into a hospital and medics find that he needs glasses, this is the place where the order for the glasses will be sent. They will be made and then sent to the patient,” he said.
Dr Jeannine Condo, the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said the laboratory is in line with the strategy of the Ministry of Health that seeks to promote infrastructure, capacity building, human resource expertise, and availability of essential drugs.
She referred to it as a great platform for fighting eye diseases which are part of non-communicable diseases that are a big threat to health.
“Eye diseases are one of the major reasons for consultation in our hospitals. The good news is that more than 83 per cent of cases of blindness are preventable,” she said.
“So this facility is a key tool. It has come in time to help the Ministry of Health and the Rwandan population. In terms of teaching and infrastructure, I can see that teaching is linked with implementation,” she said.
Francoise Kayitare, a UR official who spoke on behalf of Chancellor Phillip Cotton, welcomed the development as one that will help provide affordable optical glasses.
“Optical glasses have been expensive and not every Rwandan could afford them, but now that we have a laboratory in the country, they will be available in a short time and at affordable prices,”she added.
Though the officials did not disclose the prices of the glasses, they assured that they will be cheaper than how they have been costing.
The laboratory only takes five minutes to complete the glasses for a person. Presently, it receives up to 20 orders for glasses from 7 vision centres in the country daily.
Tuzinde said that it is one of the best laboratories with the latest equipment and technology in Africa.