Suriname's first eye care hospital - a contribution from the Kirpalani Foundation

Since 2006, the Suriname Eye Center (SEC) has started a program of education and training of ophthalmologists and other expert staff. The aim of this was to increase the coverage of eye care in Suriname. A few years later it became apparent that there was an urgent need for more space and better facilities. The SEC called on the Kirpalani Foundation to look into this project. Previously, the Kirpalani Foundation had adopted a number of projects and donated funds for them. The original project had a budget of nearly US$5.5 million. In November 2018, the Kirpalani Foundation joined IAMGOLD and the Academisch Ziekenhuis Paramaribo (AZP) to initiate a project. An agreement was then signed between these 3 parties and the Nationale Ontwikkelingsbank (NOB) to provide the eye care clinic with the necessary advanced eye care technology for future generations. 

This dream was realized on Thursday, July 28, 2022, when Suriname was able to commission its first eye care hospital called, Suriname Eye Center, Kirpalani-IAMGOLD-AZP Eye Hospital. The official opening was performed by Z.E. President Chandrikapersad Santokhi.

With the team of eye specialists and technical staff, the SEC will become a modern eye hospital, which will provide future generations with specialized eye care in Suriname and the region. Mr. Vijay Kirpalani, director of Kirpalani N.V., said in his speech at the delivery of this project that he was honored to be part of the happy moment. It is a special moment for both the Kirpalani Foundation and the Kirpalani family.

The director explained why eye care is close to the heart of the Kirpalani family:

“When my father was ten years old, he had an accident. The family did not have the means to pay for eye care, so my father lost sight in one eye." In 1968, Mr Kirpalani also developed a very rare condition in his other eye and due to lack of equipment, the diagnosis could not be performed optimally. 

He then later made a diagnosis in the Netherlands, but when it was discovered what the condition was, it was too late and he had lost 60 percent of his sight. “When you have to go through something like this, eye care is very close to your heart. This is why my father supported projects related to eye care and education. Doctor Pawiroredjo indicated that this project has been a huge challenge, but we were able to make it a 'very happy moment' today.”

In addition, the Kirpalani Foundation has made an amount available to finance the hospital ward. The nurses and other employees received smartphones including a KirpalaniKom subscription as a gift from the Kirpalani company. With this milestone, Kirpalani hopes that the quality of healthcare in Suriname will be improved and guaranteed for the next 20 years.

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