Rwanda to have eye bank soon

It will be ground breaking as Rwanda is set to host the first state-of-the-art regional optical centre for research and eye banking which will also ease treatment hassles for eye patients.
Doctors performing a cornea transplant at King Faisal Hospital during the recently concluded army week (File Photo)
Doctors performing a cornea transplant at King Faisal Hospital during the recently concluded army week (File Photo)

It will be ground breaking as Rwanda is set to host the first state-of-the-art regional optical centre for research and eye banking which will also ease treatment hassles for eye patients.

The centre will also conduct training and research.

According to a statement from RDF, establishing such a centre will place Rwanda third to South Africa and Ethiopia both with functioning Eye banks.

In an interview, Major Dr John Nkurikiye, an Ophthalmologist at King Faisal Hospital said that plans are underway to institute the facility in a bid to meet regional needs in ophthalmology.

The centre will be a private and non profit entity that will operate in partnership with the government and other willing non-governmental organisations.

Nkurikiye, a cornea - transplant specialist also noted that the centre will integrate training, eye care and eye banking.

“One of the main purposes of this facility is to train ophthalmologists, to provide specialised affordable eye care and to support eye banking facilities. Doctors will be trained on the five sub-specialties that encompass eye care,” Nkurikiye said.

Nkurikiye, together with a team of other doctors has been conducting cornea transplant operations on different patients across the country as part of the initiative by Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) dubbed Army Week.

In relation to the training programmes, Rwandan doctors will be dispatched to various eligible eye care institutions in Nepal, India and other parts of the world for training.

“Upon return these professionals, will spearhead operations at the centre” Nkurikiye added.

The development comes after successful cornea transplantation surgeries on 21 young Rwandans at King Faisal Hospital and 126 cataract operations in Nyamata Hospital during the army Week activities.

Eye banks retrieve and store eyes for cornea transplants and research. Eye banks provide tissue for cornea transplants to treat conditions such as cornea scarring. The cornea is not the only part of the eye that can currently undergo transplantation.

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