Glasses go from half empty to full

May 17, 2010

If you live in Karachi you will see someone suffering each day. Perhaps because there is so much, many of us stop seeing it after a while. Luckily, however, there are still some people among us who have tried to make people see better and clearer.

When Saad Hussain started his journey into public service he had no idea whether he would be able to gather enough resources to actually get done what he envisioned. All he had was an idea that took seed when he attended a youth action workshop in January this year. His main idea was to work with people who had eye problems in suburban areas of Karachi.

“I felt that an eye problem can be one of the biggest obstacles to a good life for poor people,” Hussain told The Express Tribune. “For instance I found that a lot of them suffer from cataracts but are unaware that it can be cured.”

It later expanded to a compete project with the help of NGOs and corporate donors, especially the Maximisers. Since then Hussain has arranged for three eye camps in Rehri Goth, Manghopir and Pak Colony.

At the first camp at Rehri Goth, more than 288 patients were screened, 198 were given medicines, 60 received glasses and 57 were diagnosed for operations.

At the second camp held in Manghopir in March, 260 patients were screened, 200 were given medicines and 28 patients diagnosed with cataracts and other conditions. At the third camp, in Pak Colony in April, 380 patients turned up, medicines were given to 198 and 200 received glasses and nine were diagnosed for operations.

They treated patients for cataracts, which is the major cause of blindness, glaucoma, pterygium, chronic dacryocystitis and other infections and refractive errors.

Hussain has felt that the problem is specifically found in the fishing villages of Karachi and is affecting their ability to work as well. “I aim to set up eye camps in all these villages as well as in areas such as Safoora Goth, Ibrahim Haidery, Sohrab Goth, Shaheen Goth, Moosa Colony, Mujahid Colony, Hub area of Balochistan where almost one million people live without easy access to a hospital or clinic,” he said. Eventually, the plan is to also target other diseases.

Hussain’s community work has made him realise that he wants to be a professional corporate trainer for young people.

“I now have a plan in life, to help needy people and to inculcate in them the habit of taking up responsibility and standing up to take action for their communities,” he said.

Sadia Anwer, who is the CEO of Maximisers, a training firm that works on women and youth issues, feels that young people need to be led by example.

“Much of the alienation and waywardness in our children is because there is no one to understand them and show faith in them,” she said.

But as Saad Hussain is proving, even young people can become examples in themselves.

Location Patients and their diagnosis

Rehri Goth                          288 screened, 198 given medicines, 60 given spectacles and 57 diagnosed for operations

Manghopir                         260 screened, 200 given medicines and 28 diagnosed with cataracts and other conditions

Pak Colony                         380 screened, 198 given medicines, 200 given spectacles and nine diagnosed for operations