This is the story of Dr. Kunle Hassan, the founder of Eye Foundation Hospital, a visionary in the real sense, a medical doctor whose mission is to ensure that millions of Nigerians do not lose their vision through preventable blindness.
It is the story of a world-class ophthalmic surgeon with wide experience in the fields of Vitreo-Retina, Surgery, Glaucoma, Anterior Segment, Cataract and Ocular Plastic Surgery.
The story of a silent achiever and philanthropist who should be given a National Merit Award for his contribution to saving his countrymen from being kidnapped by Mr. Glaucoma, the “Silent Thief” that creeps in little by little until you start bumping on walls, until total darkness that is irreversible sets in. May it not be our portion!
Dr. Hassan, a medical graduate from my alma mater, the University of Lagos, went abroad to specialize in ophthalmology and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeon, Glasgow, UK, Royal College of Ophthalmology, UK and West African College of Surgeons. He was further trained in the prestigious Tenneth Institute of Ophthalmology, Western Infirmary-Glasgow, Scotland, under the tutelage of Professor Wallace Foulds.
After a stint working in the UK, he travelled to the Saudi Arabia to work “just to make money” as he told me. I was interviewing him for one of our books titled: 50 NIGERIA’S BUSINESS FOUNDERS—a book that would soon come out, coauthored with my friend and “twin” brother Dimgba Igwe of blessed memory.
While working in Saudi Arabia, his mind was on his vision: the vision to establish an eye hospital of international standard on his return to his country, Nigeria. He tells his story:
“I worked in Saudi Arabia just to make money. And then I got all my equipment and came back to this country without a car. There was a time I was driving ambulance. I used all my money to buy equipment. I came back in 1993 and started off on 22 Ribadu Road where a friend of mine had a medical centre and he gave me a room.
“It was challenging. But along the line, you discover there are a lot of patients who cannot afford the hi-tech service and all those things. So I decided that the best thing is to call some of my patients, Alhaji Okunnu and some others and we formed a board of trustees so that we can also do charity for those who cannot afford. And that is how we started the Eye Foundation.
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