The launch three separate five-year projects to eliminate avoidable blindness in Pakistan by the year 2020 were launched here on Tuesday.
“This is the fifth mega project Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF) would deliver in Pakistan focusing on multiple interventions to further integrate eye care within the health system framework of Pakistan,” said FHF, Australia Country Manger Dr Rubina Gillani.
She said the project will not only consolidate previously supplied technologies and developed process, but also pilot three new subspecialties — glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity and corneal opacity.
She informed participants that the National Eye Health Committee and Provincial Eye Health Boards will be supported through the project and support will be provided to restore sight lost due to cataracts. It will provide women, children and poor people accessibility and high quality pediatric and diabetes-related eye health services.
Moreover, a pilot Eye Health Information System (EHIS) will be part of the Tertiary Health Information System in selected centres of excellence.
“Giving sight to someone is the noblest cause,” she said.
Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward said, “Pakistan currently has numerous problems and introduction of such projects is good news.”
CBM Germany Country Director Ajmal Khan said the project could contribute 50,000 cataract surgeries by collaborating with the public and private sectors.
Dr Asad Aslam Khan from the National Committee for Eye Health said that the prevalence of blindness in Pakistan has been reduced from 1.76 in 1989 to 0.9 per cent in 2014.
The cataract surgical rate has crossed 4,000 per ophthalmologist per year, means that an average Pakistani ophthalmologist performs over 10 cataract surgeries a day.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2014.