How We Started
Nestled in a quiet corner of the uptown estate of Loresho in Nairobi, Kenya, is the Lions SightFirst Eye hospital.
In the early 80s, members of Lions International District 411 wished to develop a centre in Nairobi which would serve as a base for their service activities and also as an administrative office for the District. After getting an allocation of suitable land from the Kenyan Government in 1992, a project committee was formed to formulate the administrative and legal processes necessary for the formation of the Lions Service Centre Management Board, Lions Clubs International 411 Charitable Trust and getting the Title Deeds for the site.
During the same period members of Multiple District 411 (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Seychelles) realized that the magnitude of blindness in Kenya and the East African Region presented a challenge to the region given the growing population, inadequate infrastructure, low per capita income and an aging population. Appreciating that the respective Governments alone could not meet the health needs of all, the Lions decided to establish a health care model that would supplement the efforts of the Governments and also be self-supporting.
In 1992, a proposal to develop an Eye Hospital as an integral part of the Lions Service Centre was mooted and on 20th November 1992, Lion Rohit Mehta, the then International President, laid the foundation stone. In 1993, a project proposal was approved by LCIF for funding under the Sight First programme. Consequently, the architectural plans for the Service Centre complex were amended to incorporate the Eye Hospital. After obtaining approval from the Ministry of Health/Kenya Society for Prevention of Blindness, the District received approval of a Grant of US$ 1,980,000 from Lions Clubs International Foundation in March 1994.
The hospital came into operation in July 1997. The initial facilities included one reception. With a cash office, four consulting rooms with basic instruments, male and female wards with a 50 beds capacity, a main theatre with two microscopes and three tables and a minor theatre.
During this period, an outreach programme covering 12 locations was initiated and the private patient's executive clinic established. At the same time Continuous Medical Education for paramedical staff was started and Laser treatment for diabetic patients introduced. The board of management members is duly elected to run the hospital, the service centre and the Eye bank.
The expansion also saw the establishment of a special executive wing to cater for paying patients. 10 executive rooms built and a complete set up for Diabetic Retinopathy, Angiography, Visual Field Analysis, Laser Room and Low Vision Clinic put in place.
The Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital has been recognized by the Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board as a Specialist Recognized Training Centre since 1st November, 2005.
To be the leading eye hospital in East and Central Africa.
To eliminate preventable and treatable blindness by offering equitable, efficient and comprehensive patient care, sight enhancement and rehabilitation services including related selected specialized services.
In order to achieve the vision and the mission, it will offer:
- The highest standards of affordable and quality in-patient and outpatient eye care that respond to the health needs of the population and which complement the services of other healthcare providers in the region.
- A limited number of specialized services for which it will strive to become a centre of excellence, that correspond to the priority needs of the population and that build on existing competency and comparative advantage.
- Primary health care and outreach services through its existing network of satellite hospitals and other centres to be established in the future.
- Training and teaching facilities for student doctors, nurses and ophthalmic assistants that contribute to the implementation of the hospital's and the Government's national strategy for human resources development for health.
- Opportunities for teaching and research that can contribute to more effective functioning of the hospital, to new knowledge on eye diseases and healthcare provision, and to the further advancement of staff knowledge and expertise.
In fulfilling its mandate, the hospital shall always follow the medical ethics and moral teachings and deliver its services in accordance with the stated policies and directives of the ministry of health.