In Pakistan, 1.5m children are blind


RAWALPINDI – Al-Shifa Eye Trust President Lt General (R) Hamid Javaid has said that 1.5 million children out of around 90 million are living in Pakistan with blindness.

He was addressing an awareness seminar on “Child Eye Health Care and Prevention of Child Blindness” here, said a press release issued here on Friday. Many children don’t know they have a vision problem because they assume they see the way everyone around them sees. Vision problems affect millions of primary school children nationwide while sixty per cent of the children die within two years of blindness, an issue that must be addressed urgently by all the stakeholders, he said.

He informed the participants that a state of the art and first of its kind specialised children eye hospital in Pakistan is being planned and construction would start by the end of this year. “We have been providing quality eye health care to the underprivileged children free of cost,” he said. Dr Sorath Noorani discussed the existing Child Eye Health Care Facilities at Al Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi and highlighted the efforts being done to promote child eye health care.

She said that around 40,000 children visit Shifa’s OPD annually with various visual disorders while the hospital has started a screening program for Retinopathy of Prematurity in all the major hospitals of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and expand it to all other hospitals of Pakistan. Prof. Dr Tayyab Afghani explained various visual disorders in children while WHO representative Dr Zareef ud Din Khan assured WHO’s continued support for the hospital.

Acknowledging the efforts and services of Al Shifa Trust, Pakistan State Oil donated rupees three million for purchase of equipment to fight preventable child blindness. Speakers said that the specialised children eye hospital will go a long way in changing the lives of thousands of children and will help them see the colors of life.

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