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Our work in Pakistan

Sightsavers began working in Pakistan in 1985, and opened a country office in 1998. Our focus is treating people with eye conditions, and making sure people with disabilities are not excluded from education and work.

A large group of children stand with the the minister of education. They are smiling and many are holding glasses.

Pakistan is the fifth most populated country in the world, yet almost 30 per cent of the population live in poverty.

Recent studies in Pakistan have found that there is an inextricable link between blindness and poverty: the prevalence of total blindness in poor areas was more than three times of that in affluent areas. Studies have also found that four million children in the country have a vision impairment.

Sightsavers aims to ensure everyone can be treated for eye issues. We’ve trained more than 85,000 Lady Health Workers to provide health care in the community for conditions including refractive error and cataracts. We’ve also trained more than 40,000 teachers to screen children in schools.

In collaboration with provincial partners, we’ve established seven paediatric ophthalmology centres, and trained thousands of opthalmologists and surgeons.

At a glance

Total population
  • 219 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • Refractive error

  • Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Disability rights
  • School eye screening
  • Education

  • 236,189
    Professionals supported on health short courses
    11,833
    Primary eye health workers receiving qualifications
    40,760
    Teachers supported on training courses

    We also partner with local and national organisations to improve the rights of people with disabilities in the country and make sure they are not excluded from society, work or education.

    Over 20 years Sightsavers has run numerous projects on inclusive education, including training teachers on how to include children with disabilities in the classroom, establishing the first-ever model inclusive technology lab at school and university level and equipping government institutions with accessible IT software and braille books for students with visual impairments.

    In January 2020, Pakistan signed its first ever law which protects the rights of people with disabilities.

    How we’re making a difference in Pakistan

    A girl has her eyes tested.

    School eye screening

    Sometimes a simple pair of glasses can change a child’s life. Sightsavers has been training teachers to screen children for vision problems.

    Read their stories

    A photo of a large group of people, many of them using wheelchairs.

    Disability rights

    Disability rights are high on the UN’s agenda – Country director Munazza Gilani looks at Pakistan’s priorities in the coming years.

    Read Munazza’s blog

    A street in an urban settlement with tents on either side of a wide dirt track.

    Reaching everyone

    Sightsavers’ Guillaume Trotignon visited Pakistan to see whether people living in urban slums in Lahore are able to get eye treatment.

    Read Guillaume’s blog

    Your donation could help to protect sight

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    More from Pakistan

    A boy wearing glasses smiling in the classroom.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Stories from the SHIP eye health project in Pakistan

    Sightsavers’ eye health screening project in Pakistan is helping children see and learn all over the country. We listen to stories of some of the children we have helped.

    January 2020
    A group of people with disabilities raise their hands.
    sightsavers_news

    Pakistan’s first-ever Disability Rights Act becomes law

    The legislation, approved on 10 January, will make it illegal to discriminate or exclude people on the basis of disability.

    January 2020
    A woman wearing a black hijab smiles and walks along a brick-lined street.
    Sightsavers blog

    A journey, not a destination: eye health integration in Pakistan

    Following simple steps can help decision-makers and donors to improve the system further, helping millions of people in need of eye care services in rural areas.

    Itfaq Khaliq Khan, November 2019
    Three women posing together with smiles.
    Sightsavers from the field

    How Sightsavers celebrated World Sight Day

    To mark World Sight Day 2019 on 10 October, Sightsavers country offices celebrated by highlighting the need to provide good-quality eye care to everyone.

    October 2019
    Teachers in Pakistan attend training to learn how to check their students' eyes.
    Sightsavers from the field

    August updates: highlights from around the world

    A round-up of the latest work that your donations help to support, including news from Nigeria, Mozambique, Pakistan and India.

    August 2019
    A photo of a large group of people, many of them using wheelchairs.
    Sightsavers blog

    How Pakistan is keeping disability inclusion on the SDG agenda

    Over two years, Sightsavers in Pakistan worked with strategic stakeholders and national partners to develop a voluntary national review report that focused on disability.

    Munazza Gillani, July 2019
    A child in Cote d'Ivoire has their eyes checked for signs of trachoma.
    Sightsavers from the field

    April updates: highlights from around the world

    A round-up of the latest work that your donations help to support, including news from Pakistan, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

    April 2019
    Faiyyazan sits in a waiting room
    Sightsavers Reports

    How partnerships help us reach vulnerable communities

    In Pakistan, we work with disabled people’s organisations to ensure our new eye health programme is inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities.

    Two medical staff clean eyes of men in traditional african dress.
    Sightsavers from the field

    November updates: highlights from around the world

    News about a programme that has distributed more than 137,000 pairs of glasses across eight countries. Plus updates from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique and more.

    November 2018
    A group of patients in Kenya smile and laugh following their cataract surgery.
    Sightsavers from the field

    October updates: highlights from around the world

    In October, celebrations took place in many of Sightsavers' programme countries to mark World Sight Day. Plus news from Kenya, Mozambique and more.

    October 2018
    Naheed, Mahmoud and their grandchildren smiling.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Naheed’s story

    Naheed is one of the final patients to have surgery as a result of our Million Miracles campaign, which has raised enough to fund a million cataract operations in the countries where we work.

    Mahmoud pushes Naheed in her wheelchair outside their home.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Eye care for those who need it most

    In Pakistan, Ulrica Hansson learns how Sightsavers’ Right to Health programme is transforming local health care so people with disabilities are no longer excluded.

    September 2018

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work