President Sirleaf Dedicates Eye Center @ JFK; LVPEI Ophthalmologist Performs First Cornea Transplant Surgery in West Africa

Tuesday, 25th July 2017

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Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dedicated the Liberia Eye Medical Center at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia. She said:  “Dream does not come true, if you do not work at it; Dreams do come through if you work for it.”  

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the remarks on Monday, July 24, 2017, on the Compound of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center during official program marking the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Eye Center at JFK. The Liberian leader said - even though it has been a very long road to where we are today, bringing Dr. Gizzie Dorbor from the Ivory Coast and L.V. PARSAD from India to Liberia, proved a worthy cause.

President Sirleaf initiated the need for collaboration with LV Prasad Modern Eye Center during her visit to India in 2013 to receive the Indira Ghandi Award.

She recalled visiting the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center on many occasions, including a working visit during the rehabilitation of the Eye Center at which time her eyes were even examined - affording her the opportunity to benefit from the modern eye equipment brought into the country for use at the facility.

The Liberian leader however, said little did she know that they were also training Liberians including Dr. Gizzie Dorbor to take over the facility upon the departure of the Indian doctors currently providing services at the Center.

“This is a great day for us and my gratitude to the all of you,” President Sirleaf said. She said we can have all the best equipment here - but if doctors, nurses and the administrators do not put themselves into it; to attend to the people who need to receive care at this center, then it means that the real aims and objectives of this eye center and those modern equipment will not be achieved.

Speaking earlier, Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao of LV Prasad who facilitated the opening of the Eye Center in Liberia, recalled about three and a half years ago, a 6-month old child from Liberia with an eye problem was taken to India for operation. He thanked God that the child was successfully examined; operation performed and is doing fine. Doctor Rao noted that three months ago - another Liberian child was taken to India again for the same reasons amid successful surgery.

He said the Center will prevent and protect Liberians from eyes diseases and will carry out Corneal Transplants - the first of its kind in West Africa at the Eye Center. “Madam President, we are glad to have met you about three years ago - when she visited India to receive the Indira Ghandi Award; We trying to expand LV Prasad services here in Liberia to bring relief to the less fortunate with eye problems in Liberia,” Dr Rao noted.

Dr. Rao however, added that: “No matter how many experts that you may bring from outside of Liberia, it is only Liberians that can take charge.”

“So, Madam President, we can assure you that this is just the beginning of what we want to do here; Our aim is for people from all over Liberia and West Africa to come here to restore their sight,” he indicated. Dr. Rao said another significant milestone is the first ever corneal transplant surgery, which was performed in Liberia at the Eye Center by an ophthalmologist from LVPEI on Monday, July 24, 2017 - making Liberia the first country in West Africa to perform such medical exercise.

LVPEI was instrumental in renovating the JFK Eye Center with the latest medical equipment supported by the Lions Clubs International Foundation and Operation Eyesight Universal.  The LV Prasad Eye Institute was established in 1987 at Hyderabad as a Non-for-Profit, Non-Governmental, public-spirited, comprehensive eye care institution.