Partnerships with Purpose

“When you remove a cataract, people who have not seen their children in years, suddenly see them. It is amazing to witness,” Past District Governor Sedrace Rwekikiya shared, while standing under the thick shade of the tree canopy just outside St. Francis Nsambya Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. As she continued to speak about the incredible impact Lions have made in Uganda toward reducing preventable blindness, in the distance, the latest vision project was taking shape.

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A renovated and expanded two-story vision clinic surrounded by scaffolding could be seen past the trees. This 5,500 square foot facility, expected to be completed in 2024, should provide enough space and equipment for medical staff to increase outpatient consultations from 2,800 to 8,100 per year. Newly trained staff will also increase the diagnosis and treatment capacity by thousands of individuals. “I am excited about the new clinic being constructed,” Dr. Lucy Namakula expressed with a smile. “This will extend our services to the community and save our patients money.”

Earlier in the day, she had to refer a family to another hospital because their baby had severely crossed eyes and the current vision clinic could not manage his treatment. This referral to a larger facility would require travel for the family, which would increase their costs.

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“It is important to support the clinic because sight is a gift. This clinic will save families money and the new equipment will improve our patient care, so we are grateful to Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Latter-day Saint Charities for supporting us.”

Together, these two organizations have partnered to give over US$420,000 to expand comprehensive eye care services in the Kampala metropolitan area. When the clinic is completed, it is expected to offer 20,250 student eye exams each year, in addition to exponentially increasing the current clinic’s capacity for cataract surgeries, diabetic retinopathy screenings and more.

For years, Kampala has had few comprehensive eye care facilities and
they were not meeting the full needs of the community. Knowing this, Dr. Geoffrey Erem and fellow Lions of District 411-B decided they could bridge the gap by applying for a SightFirst grant with LCIF to expand and improve their current vision clinic. “Lions come together to solve community needs,” Dr. Erem noted. “If we pool resources, we make a larger difference.”

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Efforts like this one prove Dr. Erem’s point. The mission-oriented partnership with Latter-day Saint Charities will enhance LCIF’s ability to invest in vision care in expansive ways, support sustainable Lion-led projects, and reach thousands of people in Kampala. Additionally, for the medical professionals who will be empowered to serve a greater number of patients more effectively, this partnership will support their professional fulfillment, which is immeasurable yet priceless.

“I love to help patients see,” Dr. Namakula remarked. “It is like a bit of magic. Just imagine that you have been living in darkness and now there is light.” When the doors to the newly expanded St. Francis Nsambya Hospital Eye Clinic open next year, light will flood each room and patients will leave with the ability to see it, some for the first time.

LCIF and Latter-day Saint Charities have partnered since 2018 to fight the major causes of preventable and reversible blindness for underserved populations in Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Visit to learn more about LCIF partnerships and the impact they have around the world.