Indian firm to build eye centre in Addis Ababa

By Groum Abate, IANS,

Addis Ababa : Indian project development firm Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA), involved in diverse projects in Africa’s second-most populous nation, will build an eye care centre in the premises of the Zewditu Memorial Hospital here as part of its community partnership programme. The project has been lauded by Ethiopia’s President Girma Woldegiorgis.

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Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital, Woldegiorgis said close to 2.3 million blind people live in Ethiopia, out of which 1.3 million are totally blind. He said there was a severe shortage of health facilities and eye care specialists that offer medium and large scale services in the country.

Girma expressed gratitude to Indian Ambassador Gurjit Singh on behalf of the people of Ethiopia for encouraging OIA to help set up the facility. The establishment of the eye care centre shows the ever-increasing people-to-people ties between Ethiopia and India, he added.

Addis Ababa Mayor Kuma Demekissa said Menelik II and Ras Desta Damitew Hospitals are the only hospitals in the city that offer medium- and large-scale eye care services and the new centre will help add up to the service given in the city.

Gurjit Singh said that the hospital would be the second hospital from the Indian people after the Gandhi Memorial Hospital that was established some 60 years ago. He said the facility would boost Ethiopia-India friendship.

OIA chairman V.B. Soni said the company will construct a state of the art eye care centre, outpatient service with modern diagnostic facilities, minor and major operation theatres, inpatient services, and administrative offices. The two-storey opthalmology centre on 2,000 sq metres will also be equipped with modern diagnostic, clinical and office equipment and furniture, he said.

OIA is also participating in sugar production expansion projects in Ethiopia after the Indian government extended a $640 million loan for the project. Besides, it is also involved in the rehabilitation of the Ethiopia-Djibouti rail link.