The Nepal Eye Hospital (NEH) is celebrating its Golden Jubilee Anniversary, marking 50 years of its establishment as the first ever specialty hospital in the eye-health sector in Nepal. It's unwavering commitment to excellence since its founding on July 28, 1974, has made it a leader in the region, and its impact has extended beyond Nepal's borders. Its dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and support staff have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of lives of 3.7 million patients, regardless of their socio-economic status.
The Founders:As we celebrate this momentous occasion, let us take a moment to reflect on the hospital's remarkable achievements and the countless lives it has touched. We should also acknowledge the contributions of its self-less founders, those 34 eminent personalities, namely; Nepal's first Cataract Surgeon Dr Ram Prasad Pokhrel, Literature Bal Krishna Sama, Educationist/Diplomat Trailokya Nath Upreti, Literature Kamal Mani Dixit, Nepal Youth Organization Central Committee PresidentYagya Prasad Acharya,General Ravi Shumshere JB Rana, Senior PaediatricianDr Badri Raj Pandey, Business personBanwari Lal Mittal, LawyerBishwakantaMainali, Literature Tara Nath Sharma, Business personAnanga Man Sherchen, Industrialist Mani Harsha Jyoti, Industrialist Tola Ram Dugad, General physician Dr. Laxman Poudyal, Political activist Janardan Acharya, General physician Dr. Sachhe Kumar Pahadi, General physician Dr. Sumsher Jung Thapa, Economist Dr. Badri Prasad Shrestha, Royal Advisory Council member Mrs. Shanta Pokharel, Business person Raj Krishna Shrestha, Film director Yadav Kharel, Journalist Gokul Prasad Pokharel, Political activist Mohan Prasad Pokharel, Bureaucrat Ramesh Jung Thapa, Journalist/Script writer Sreedhar Prasad Khanal, Ganesh Man Shrestha (Pradhan Pancha of Kathmandu Nagar Panchayat), Ram Narayan Shresthaand Lila Nath Sharma,Madhav Prasad Sharma, Madan Prasad Tandukar, Achyut Raj Pandey,Chiniya Kaji Tuladhar, Botanist ShovanaPokhreland Architect UttamDhakwa.
They charted the hospital's future course and helped shape it's success in the later years to come. They saw the need for a specialized eye hospital that could provide comprehensive eye care services, including diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and rehabilitation.
The hospital's founding objective was to address the pressing need for high-quality eye care in Nepal at low-cost as well as free of cost for the neediest. The founders recognized that blindness and visual impairment were major public health issues in the country, affecting individuals' quality of life and hindering economic development.The hospital's founders were committed to providing care to all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. They recognized that many individuals living in poverty could not afford to pay for eye care, and they wanted to ensure that these individuals had access to the care they needed. Today, it is providing world-class eye care, education, and research.
Status of Preventable Blindness:The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of all cases of blindness can be prevented or treated. One of the main causes of preventable blindness is a lack of access to eye care services. Many people living in low and middle-income countries, like Nepal have limited access to eye care due to factors such as poverty, geography, and inadequate health infrastructure.
Regular eye exams can help detect vision problems early, before they progress to the point of causing blindness. The hospital has a range of programs aimed at promoting eye health and early detection. One such program is the Outreach Eye Camp, which provides eye care services to people in remote and underserved areas of Nepal. These programs have helped to address the inequities in access to eye care in the country, ensuring that all individuals have access to the care they need.
In fact, the Nepal Eye Hospital started it's Outreach Eye Camp before, the permanent hospital was operationalized. Since, then the camps have been undertaken in different parts of the country, offering eye exams, treatment, and surgery to those who would otherwise have limited access to eye care services. Still a long way to go, because only 28 districts have eye care facilities out of 77 districts in Nepal.
The Nepal Eye Hospital also runs a School Eye Health Program, which aims to detect and treat vision problems in school-aged children. In the last 8 months alone, under this program, the hospital team had check-upmore than 12500 students of community schools in Kathmandu Valley and provided more than 500 pairs of eyeglasses to those needy children, free of costs.
These programs are vital in promoting eye health and preventing blindness. Many people believe that if you can cure the blindness of a single person, you can change the quality of the lives of a family completely. You can give them independence, dignity, and the ability to contribute to their community. Blindness can limit individuals' ability to work, study, and care for their families, leading to poverty and social isolation. In contrast, early detection and treatment can improve individuals' quality of life and contribute to economic advancement.
In Nepal, the pioneering Nepal Eye Hospital's impact extends beyond the individuals it treats. The hospital has trained hundreds of eye care professionals, providing them with the skills and knowledge crucial to address the country's eye health needs.
Advancement in eye care: As a relief to many poor and disadvantaged families, its is providing a low-cost, high-quality approach in eye care and treatment. Today, the Nepal Eye Hospital provides the least expensive treatment and surgeries amongst all the eye-care related hospitals in Nepal.
Over the past five decades, the Nepal Eye Hospital has undergone significant growth and transformation. It has expanded its facilities, introduced new technologies, and improved its management practices to better serve patients. It started as a small clinic in the capital, Kathmandu, but has since expanded to include several satellite clinics in different parts of the country. The hospital's main facility, at the centrally located Tripurewor, is a modern hospital with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for diagnosing and treating eye conditions.Today, the Nepal Eye Hospital is a leader in eye care in the region, providing a range of services to individuals from all walks of life.
Technological advancements have also played a significant role in the hospital's growth. The Nepal Eye Hospital has kept pace with the latest developments in eye care technology and has introduced several innovative treatments and procedures. These include advanced cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, and vitreoretinal surgery. The hospital has also invested in digital imaging and other technologies that enable doctors to diagnose and treat eye conditions more accurately and efficiently. These technologies have helped to improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of complications.
The Nepal Eye Hospital's impact extends beyond the medical field. The hospital's efforts to improve eye care have had significant socio-economic ramifications in Nepal. By preventing and treating eye diseases, the hospital has helped to improve public awareness on eye health and improve the quality of life for individuals and communities.
In conclusion, the Nepal Eye Hospital's Golden Jubilee anniversary is a testament to its significant contributions to advancing eye care in Nepal. Over the past 50 years, the hospital has grown from a small clinic to a world-class medical facility, providing high-quality care to individuals from all walks of life. Its commitment to technological upgradation, research, education, and outreach has helped to improve the lives of countless individuals and communities in Nepal. In a nutshell, the establishment of the Nepal Eye Hospital marked a significant milestone in advancing eye care in Nepal. It was the first specialty eye hospital in the country, and it played a crucial role in addressing the pressing need for high-quality eye care services.
(Acharya, Board of Director and Life Member of Nepal Eye Hospital, can be reached at email@example.com)