The members of the Rotaract Club de Beyrouth, a service club for students and young professionals aged between 18 and 30, sponsored by their Rotary elders, inaugurated its Eye Community Clinic, set up within the Lebanese School for the Blind and Deaf in Baabda. After several months of renovation, outfitting the clinic with new equipment, setting up a permanent presence of ophthalmologists, and securing two hundred pairs of eyeglasses, the “Rotaract ECC” (Rotaract Eye Community Clinic) was created and will examine patients free of charge before referring them to the appropriate care services.
During the inauguration ceremony, the club’s President, Miss Sara Safa, thanked Dr. Michel Kfoury, Representative of the Minister of Health, for his support and presence, Mr. Zahi El Haiby, Advisor to the Minister of Social Affairs, Mrs. Mona Kanaan, Assistant to the Governor before the Rotary Club of Beirut, Dr. Douglas Mehr, Representative of the LDS Foundation which generously contributed to the financing of the equipment.
Mr. Bassem Bou Habib, Director of Solmed, provider of the equipment, Dr. John Edde and Mrs. Marie-Rose Gemayel, Representatives of the LSBD, Mr. Naji Bassil, Director of Optique et Vision, which donated the eyeglasses, Mr. Zouheir Bizri, President of the Rotary Club of Beirut along with the Club members who supported the initiative of the young Rotaractors.
Under the supervision of Miss Mona Keaik, Chief Resident at the Ophthalmology Department of AUBMC, the project had emerged from the initiative of Dr. Kevin Saliba, General Surgeon at NDUH, who later spoke about the clinic’s evolution until its operating date.
At an awareness-raising meeting held back in 1952, Lebanon’s First Lady, H.E. Mrs. Zalfa Chamoun, convinced entrepreneurs and leaders of large companies of the need for a national institution serving the blind and visually impaired. She would, a year later, establish with Messrs. Michel Doumit and Philippe Touma (both Rotarians at the Club of Beirut which would financially support the project), an association to manage the future Lebanese School for the Blind and Deaf in Baabda, which currently houses the newly-established Rotaract Eye Community Clinic.