Five less-privileged young Nigerians were helped to regain their lost sight and hope after undergoing successful cornea grafting facilitated by the Lions Club District 404A1 Nigeria, at the Lions Club Sightfirst Eye Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.
Aged six, seven, 17, 18 and 34, these patients whose lives were in disarray due to their visual impairment, were flown to Kenya on July 27, 2018, in company of their guides, for the surgery that lasted two days, with 30 minutes per surgery. Successfully operated on between July 29 and 30, they were brought back to Nigeria, at a total cost of N1.86million per patient, bankrolled by the Club.
Receiving the patients in Lagos last weekend, immediate past District Governor, Lions Club 404A1 Nigeria, Mr. Olatubosun Okpeseyi, said the gesture was in line with the major focus of the club as a humanitarian and social service organisation. According to him, those major areas include giving sight to the blind, helping diabetic and pediatric cancer patients, contributing to the improvement of the environment, and feeding the hungry.
He said: “This journey started between 2017 and 2018, the day I assumed office as the District Governor of Lions Club 404A1 Nigeria. And as a district governor, you have projects that you need to embark on for the year and cornea transplant was one of the programmes and promises I made to the public during my public presentation, that we have to give sight to people.
“What we’re saying basically is that sight is light to life. So whoever gives sight has given life to someone, and we’re encouraging people to do this. That’s why we had to bring our doctor here to come and talk to people and sensitise people about cornea donation and transplant which is very key. In the course of trying to give sight back to these promising Nigerians, we went through a lot of stress and pressure. We applied for cornea from India but couldn’t get, but due to the intervention of Dr. Mosun Faderin who accompanied the patients to Kenya, these corneas came in from the US.
“In Lions Club we believe in service to the people, service to the society. We believe that whatever you can do the society do it. There is no grant coming from anywhere but the institution has actually charged all of us to see what we can do to serve the society.
He also said: “So we thank God for the grace of life and the gift of vision as we happily welcome our five cornea blind patients and their parents from Kenya today, August 5, 2018 after undergoing successful surgeries at the Lions Sightfirst Eye Hospital as promised during my public presentation as District Governor.”
He however, called on the government, corporate organisations and good spirited individuals to partner with the club in its drive to serve humanity and the society, noting that, a culture of service needs to be cultivated by Nigerians.
On her part, Dr. Mosun Faderin, who is in-charge of the Eye Bank at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), advised that people should embrace cornea donation and transplant as a way of addressing blindness in the country.
She stated that the success rate of cornea transplant recorded was 99.9 per cent, pointing out that because of lack of blood vessels in a harvested cornea, the method does not lead to infection.