Islamic Development Bank Inaugurates an Ophthalmic Centre in Niger Republic
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has inaugurated an Ophthalmic Centre in Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic in order to cure avoidable blindness in the country. The inauguration ceremony was led by Niger’s Minister of Education, HE Mariama Ali who represented the Minister of Health of the country.
The Ophthalmic Centre was jointly built by the Turkish NGO Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the Government of Niger and the IDB. It is part of IDB’s Reverse Linkage Programme which aims at sharing knowledge and expertise between IDB member countries, while the IDB serves as a facilitator.
In his speech during the opening ceremony at the Lamorde General Hospital where the Ophthalmic Centre is located, IDB’s Director for Capacity Development, Mr Zaher Rebai said the Centre is aimed at reducing the backlog of cataract blindness in Niger by restoring the sight of 30,000 persons free of charge over a period of 5 years, in addition to improving the skills of the local health personnel in the country and transferring the latest technology in ophthalmology to Niger from Turkey.
“Some of the most advanced techniques in cataract surgery, such as phacoemulsification, are not being used currently in Lamorde hospital and other public facilities in Niger, and a notable feature of the project is that it will facilitate the transfer of latest technology by introducing these new techniques”, said Mr Rebai on behalf of the IDB management.
Under the Reverse Linkage programme, the Turkish NGO, IHH will operate the unit for a period of 3-5 years before handing it over to the local authorities. As the main provider of expertise, IHH will ensure continuous training for the local staff in medical and managerial fields to strengthen the local capacity.
The government of Niger provided the plot of the land for the ophthalmic unit and will contribute in covering the running costs (such as utilities) and the salaries of local staff working in the unit, while IDB financed the medical equipments for the new ophthalmic unit. Present during the ceremony were the representative of Turkish Health Ministry Mr. Abdullah Sert, Vice President of IHH Mr. Osman Atalay and the Ambassador of Turkey in Niger, Mr. Hasan Ulusoy.