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The Right to Health

This programme aims to break down barriers to eye health for hard-to-reach communities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

A woman smiles and holds one hand over her eye after successful cataract surgery.

The Right to Health programme focuses on restoring and protecting people’s sight, and ensuring health services are accessible for people with disabilities and other marginalised groups.

By addressing avoidable visual impairments, the programme, which is funded by the UK government through UK Aid Match, aims to reduce poverty and contribute to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals.

 

70%
of the people we're targeting live in rural areas
1 million
people in the project areas need cataract surgery
72%
of people who are blind because of cataracts are women

Why is it needed?

People living with disabilities in Bangladesh and Pakistan experience profound challenges.  Disability exacerbates poverty for the whole family because of increased expenses, lack of income (due to caring responsibilities) and reduced opportunities (due to social exclusion).  In Bangladesh, for each person an estimated 10.1 years of health is lost as a result of disability; in Pakistan, this is 9.6 years (source: WHO and World Bank World Report on Disability). This is particularly acute for women and girls with disabilities, as they face additional challenges because of gender inequality.

This can be addressed through appropriately targeted health services and the development of approaches which include disability and gender considerations. The Right to Health programme aims to contribute to building a society where all people can access services, and where lessons learned can affect other health areas, in line with the UK Department for International Development’s disability framework.

A man has his eyes examined by another man using ophthalmology equipment.
Murtaza, from Pakistan, has his eyes examined before the second of his two cataract operations.

How will it work?

Services will be targeted to reach some of the most neglected and hardest-to-reach populations who are unlikely to benefit from standard health care services. The project will be delivered in partnership with local partner eye care hospitals and ministries of health at national and district levels. To reach the most marginalised groups, the programme will run inclusive eye health screening camps, and targeted outreach will be developed in collaboration with local disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), community-based organisations and self-help groups.

The programme will operate in Rangpur, Rajshahi and Dhaka divisions in Bangladesh, and Baluchistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces in Pakistan.

 

Mahmoud pushes Naheed in her wheelchair outside their home.

The Right to Health programme in action

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More from the project

A man with a physical disability sits outside.
Sightsavers Reports

A lightning strike changed Yousub’s life forever

Yousub has come up against decades-long hardships, but with with a sight-saving cataract operation, life is finally looking better. Here, he shares his remarkable story.

A tuk tuk passes a group of women.
Sightsavers from the field

Meet the miking team, spreading the word about free eye health care

In Bangladesh, we know the best way to make sure no one is left behind is to take health information directly to their doorstep. Enter the miking team!

April 2020
Women wait in line for eye screening tests.
Sightsavers blog

“We put a special focus on women with disabilities and their rights.”

On international Women’s Day, Sightsavers' Asma Rashida highlights the additional prejudices women with disabilities face, and the important work of the Right to Health project.

Sightsavers, March 2020