For exceptional impact in healthcare in Africa: Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute wins prestigious int’l award.
The renowned hospital, located at Obak, some 35km from Yaounde, was recognised during the 3rd edition of Les Awards de l’Avenir held in Yaounde August 14.
The gala ceremony, co-organised by Network of Newspaper Publishers in Cameroon, REPAC, and Cameroon communications Agency, better known as ACACOM, was under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Paul Biya.
The event was chaired on behalf of the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute, by the Minister of Communication, Rene Emmanuel Sadi.
During the award ceremony, the prize of “Grand Prix Healthcare in Africa” was handed over to MICEI’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Henry Nkumbe, on behalf of its founder and Chair of Africa Eye Foundation, Dr Ekaf El Maghraby.
MICEI CEO had the singular honour to receive the recognition from celebrated football legend and coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, Rigobert Song, in the presence several high profile personalities.
The award, it was said, is in recognition of training provided by MICEI to close to 300 eye-care professionals, including in ophthalmology subspecialties, from across 12 African countries, with ongoing plans to construct an ultramodern training centre at the hospital premises, in a bid to boost training capacity.
Speaking in interview with the press, Dr Nkumbe said they are elated to receive such an award on a very special occasion and it signals the quality of services rendered to patients.
“This recognition comes from our patients because when we treat them, they go out and spread the news about their experience and the media catch up on it and that’s is how we got such an award,” the CEO said.
He then dedicated the recognition to MICEI staff whom he said have been working tirelessly to provide quality and compassionate healthcare to patients.
Striking impact in CEMAC sub-region
Since its commissioning in March 2017, MICEI is said to have made commendable strides within Cameroon and the Central African sub-region.
Dr Nkumbe affirmed that MICEI remains the first and only subspecialty eye hospital in the whole of Central African sub-region and the only not-for-profit subspecialty eye hospital in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This places Cameroon on a very strategic position with respect to the provision of world class eye care services,” the MICEI CEO said.
He continued that for over six years of its existence, MICEI has provided more than 330,000 consultations for patients from 11 African countries with the majority coming from Cameroon, Niger, Chad, and neighbouring Nigeria.
“We believe that what we are able to do shouldn’t remain with us, so we have been providing training to trainees from 13 African countries and so far we are at 242 persons,” the renowned ophthalmologist said.
“We currently have trainees from Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Burkina Faso and Madagascar undergoing various forms of training,” he added.
In order boost its capacity of training eye care specialists, the Magrabi eye hospital is erecting structures at the hospital premises dedicated for the different training in eye care.
“We want to provide more quality in training and include more people in subspecialty,” he stated.
Hails MICEI founder, Board of Trustees
The MICEI CEO equally used the opportunity hail the founder of the hospital and the Board of Trustees of the Africa Eye Foundation for choosing Cameroon to establish the world-class hospital and for ensuring the services are affordable to the population.
“To Dr Ekaf El Maghraby and the Board of Trustees, I just want to say a big thank you to them for entrusting this hospital to us and believing in us. We also want to thank him for choosing Cameroon for this hospital to be constructed,” Dr Nkumbe noted.
He added that “it could have been done in any other African country but he chose Cameroon, which means that Cameroonians are the first beneficiaries and also we have been getting a lot of support”.
Dr Maghraby is a prominent ophthalmologist of Egyptian origin. The highly experienced health specialist has over 35 eye hospitals in the Middle East, Europe and part of Africa.
It is worth noting that the 2023 Awards de l’Avenir coincided with the 15th anniversary of the official handing over of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon marked by the signing of the Green Tree Accord between the Cameroon and Nigeria. To mark this anniversary, special awards were given to President Paul Biya and Former Nigerian president, Olusugun Obasanjo, in recognition of their efforts of seeking for a peaceful resolution of the Bakassi Peninsula crisis.