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 UK aid, aims to reduce poverty and contribute to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals.


of the people we're targeting live in rural areas
1 million
people in the project areas need cataract surgery
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?

The UK Aid logo, showing a union jack and the words: 'UK Aid: from the British people'.

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

Read more

More about our eye health work

An elderly woman in Uganda has her eyes examined to check for trachoma.

Free eye examinations launched for older people in Uganda

People aged over 65 can now have a free eye examination while collecting their pension, and can then be referred for treatment for conditions such as cataracts or blinding trachoma.

June 2018
A woman has her eyes examined by a male ophthalmologist.
Sightsavers blog

Lessons from our first inclusive eye health project

Sightsavers recently undertook a learning review to capture and consolidate what we’ve learned so far from our eye health pilot project in Bhopal, India.

Sightsavers, May 2018
Surgical staff perform a cataract operation.
Sightsavers from the field

Watch cataract surgery condensed into one and a half minutes

During a recent trip to Bangladesh, we filmed a time-lapse video of a Sightsavers cataract operation taking place at Khulna BNSB hospital.

April 2018