President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has honored and conferred on Dr. Gullapalli N, Rao, Founder, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, currently operating in Liberia into the Order of the Star of Africa with the Grade of Commander.
The Liberian leader commended Dr. Rao for what she called his exceptional performance and contributions to Liberia.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the commendation last Friday, November 24, 2017 in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when she, as Grand Master of the Order of Distinction of the Republic of Liberia, admitted Dr. Gullapalli N. Rau into the Order of the Star of Africa, with the Grade of Commander.
Born of Indian-descent, Dr. Rao is Founder of the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, which has already operated on and improved the eye sights of about 6,000 patients in the country.
"You and your team from India that have established this Branch of the L.V Prasad Eye Institute here in Liberia have been doing so exceptionally; working with doctors and medical personnel at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center to meet and treat the number of eye patients currently benefitting from your service in Liberia," President Sirleaf stressed.
She commended Dr. Rao and his team for responding to the Government of Liberia's call at quick notice to extend the operations of the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute to Liberia some three years ago.
The L.V. Prasad Eye Institute's rapid response was accompanied by some of the best state of the art medical equipment to the country.
President Sirleaf praised Dr. Rao and thanked he and his men for working with various group, including those from the civil society, local and international partners in exploring other avenues; giving special care and attention to children with eye-related problems and the manufacturing of special eye glasses for them in a bid to save them from early blindness.
"Your commitment has been tremendous," President Sirleaf told the Indian Doctor and his compatriots.
President Sirleaf said since coming to power on Monday, January 16th, 2006, her administration has always strived to make sure that the health sector is improved for the wellbeing of the Liberian people.
She said one area where much attention has not been given is the eye care sector to save Liberians from unnecessary blindness and curable eye diseases.
The Liberian leader said it was predicated upon this need that about three years ago, while on a State visit to India, she was fortunate to come into direct contact with Dr. Rao; and during their interaction, the need for expanding operations of his Eye Institute to Liberia was expressed.
Responding, Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao recounted that about three years ago, while catering to a Liberian girl with some eye problem in India, President Sirleaf was also in India on a State visit, and during their interactions, the issue of extending the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute's services to Liberia was discussed.
Dr. Rao noted that following successful operations on the eyes of the Liberian girl who was taken to India, he and some members of his team decided to extend the facility to Liberia in honor of President Sirleaf's request.
He narrated that since arrival in Liberia with a view to setting up a branch of the L.V. Eyes Institute at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Compound, the eye center has since treated over 6,000 patients, with various degrees of eye problems.
Dr. Rao noted that during the dedicatory ceremony in July of this year, he assured Liberians that as long as the facility is here, by the year 2030, "no Liberian will go needlessly blind, like it was in the past, when the L.V. Parsat Eyes Institute was not in the country.
Similarly, Dr. Rao again assured Liberians that while his facility has also been catering to about 6,000 patients over the last five months, carrying on Cornea transplants; the next focus of the Eye Institute will be to cater to cataract patients.
He said by the year 2020 the facility should be able to treat at least 20,000 cataract patients across Liberia and in the sub-region.