Untreated eye conditions such as cataracts affect millions of people in Pakistan. In 2016, we examined more than 7.6 million people for eye problems and supported 33,000 sight-saving operations.
Pakistan is the sixth highest populated country in the world, yet almost 30 per cent of the population live in poverty.
Sightsavers is working to reduce avoidable blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy by performing regular screenings for early detection and regular follow-up appointments in three districts in Pakistan.
We are also working to strengthen the country’s health system by training health workers and raising awareness of children’s eye health within communities.
Munazza Gillani has been at Sightsavers for more than 10 years. She says: “The best part of my job is working with people with disabilities and organisations who are disability champions and role models for others.”
The Giving Vision to Future Visionaries project was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and supported by Sightsavers. It focuses on reducing childhood blindness in Pakistan, which is most common in children under five.
We’ve trained 930 Lady Health Workers to provide health care in the community: they visit families regularly to ensure that all children, even those who don’t attend school, are seen. We also trained 2,300 teachers to screen children in schools, following World Health Organization guidelines.
Some 25,000 children have been screened by Lady Health Workers, and 125,000 school children have had their eyes examined for conditions including refractive error and cataracts. We’ve also trained 70 technicians and medical staff, upgraded diagnostic and theatre equipment at the LRBT hospital in Quetta and provided 50 major and 200 minor operations for children who needed them.