Cornea retrieval center rising at Amai Pakpak Hospital in Marawi

MARAWI CITY – The Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) and Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines signed a memorandum of agreement for the establishment of a cornea retrieval center Wednesday, Aug. 17.

HOSPITAL and Eye Bank officials at the signing of the agreement. (Bonita L. Ermac)

The center at the APMC would be the first in Mindanao.

Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines founding president Dr. Maria Dominga B. Padilla said APMC is ready to host the center.

"Sila ang talagang handa, sila ang talagang ready. Kasi alam niyo na it’s not enough that you want to put up an eye retrieval center, kailangan may personnel ka. It's not just the wanting but also the capability of the hospital (They are ready. It is not enough that you want to put up an eye retrieval center. You need to have personnel. It's not just the wanting but also the capability of the hospital),” she said.

"Meron silang magandang Department of Opthalmology, meron silang cornea specialist (They have a good Department of Opthalmology and they have a cornea specialist)," added Padilla, who noted that the hospital chief and its staff are all supportive of the center.

She said having a good cornea is important for a person to function.

"Kung walang cornea ang mata mo, hindi ka makakakita (If your eyes don’t have a cornea, you won’t be able to see)," she said.

"Kung pangit ang cornea mo, kunyari hindi siya clear, deformed, may peklat, patay na, hindi na makakakita, you'll not be able to function (If you don’t have a good cornea, if it is not clear, deformed, or has scars, you won’t see, you’ll not be able to function)."

AMPC chief Dr. Shalimar Sani-Rakiin said having an eye tissue retrieval center is a great challenge as it is difficult to look for cornea donors.

At present, he said, there are about 40 patients waiting for cornea donations at the APMC and hundreds nationwide.

APMC successfully performed one corneal transplant last April on an 11-year old boy, Bin Basher Pangandaman, whose eyes were damaged due to overexposure from gadgets.

His father urged parents to control their children in their use of gadgets so they won’t suffer like his son.