Guinness Nigeria has received glowing accolades from the Anambra state government for its long standing involvement in the provision and management of quality eye care centres in the country.
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, made this known at the re-commissioning of the Guinness Eye Hospital, located in Onitsha.
“This auspicious project is an important subject which ties into one of the key enablers of my government. I would like to heartily commend Guinness Nigeria for their huge investment and commitment to providing world class eye care solutions across the country. As a testament, this facility and the equipment which Guinness Nigeria Plc has bequeathed to the Eye Hospital ranks among the very best in the world. Therefore, Anambra indigenes do not need to go abroad again to get treated for eye problems,” the governor said.
In his goodwill message at the ceremony, Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Peter Ndegwa, noted that the re-commissioning of the eye hospital is in keeping with the company’s commitment to supporting the Guinness Eye Centres in sustenance of its original vision and to ensure that the facility remains the reference point in the training of professionals and the provision of excellent eye care in Nigeria’s health sector.
“As a company, our focus on eye care reflects our recognition of the far-reaching impact that good eyesight can have on the overall health and wellbeing of everyone. We are here to celebrate the notable accomplishments which the Guinness Eye Hospital, Onitsha, has delivered to many Nigerians. Our investment in the various eye hospitals is keeping in line with our commitment to make a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. By helping Nigerians to preserve their sights, we play a strong role in enhancing their ability to learn, earn and get the best out of life”, he said.
The Guinness MD, who announced a donation of eye equipment worth five million naira to the hospital, thanked past and present staff of the hospital for their unwavering sense of duty and ensuring the sustenance of the institution for over three decades, and urged them to enhance their service delivery to reach more Nigerians.
Governor Willie Obiano also used the occasion to announce the launch of a PPP-driven health insurance policy, funded by the government and citizens in the Diaspora to ensure that doctors get paid for treating patients, as well as the state’s government plan to provide free eye screenings for 1000 citizens at the hospital.
Furthermore, the Governor urged the people of the state to take advantage of the best-in-class services provided at the Guinness Eye Hospital through regular eye screenings and to prevent visual impairment and blindness.
Speaking on the rationale behind the revamp, Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria, Sesan Sobowale said: “over the years, we have supported the hospital with funding to purchase equipment so that specialist eye care can be obtained here. In 2015, the management of the hospital drew our attention to the need to upgrade the facilities, create more space for doctors and patients while making the atmosphere more conducive for treatments. We then decided that the request was an investment with merit and therefore approved the funding for the project and mobilized contractors to site for the reconstruction work. We are really very pleased with the output and the fact that the hospital can now cater to more patients in need of eye care.”
The Chief Medical Director, Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Anthony Igwegbe, who went down memory lane, chronicled the history and achievements of the Guinness Eye Hospital, which had only 2 consultants to attend to over 850 people yearly at its inception, but has progressively increased its capacity and now caters for over 15,000 patients with a manpower of 144 staffers. He noted that the hospital has enjoyed continuous support from Guinness Nigeria through subventions such as financial contributions, state-of-the-art optical equipment and various infrastructural upgrades.
Some dignitaries present at the occasion include Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, Commissioner for Information, Ogbuefi Tony Nnacheta, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, a past CMD of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Okey Mbonu, HOD, Guinness Eye Hospital, Dr. Akunne Akpakama, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe represented by the Onowu Iyasele of Onitsha, Chief Okechukwu Ononye and other members of the Traditional Council of Onitsha.
It would be recalled that the first Guinness Eye Hospital was built and commissioned in Kaduna in 1962, before the official opening of the company’s first brewery in Ikeja, Lagos. Since then, the company has established similar eye hospitals in Onitsha and Lagos. The Guinness Eye Centre Lagos, located within the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) became operational in 1992 while the Guinness Eye Centre Onitsha, Anambra State, was established in 1984 and operates under the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital.