Concern on rising eye diseases in Sind

General Karachi

Karachi: Showing concern on growing eye diseases in Sind province and lack of government run eye hospitals in many districts and towns, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association PIMA demanded opening of state-run eye hospitals in every district and town of Sind so as to provide facilities of eye treatment to patients who cannot afford costly private facilities.

PIMA Sind chapter president Dr Salman Ghouri said due to diseases like hypertension, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract, environmental pollution and also due to poverty which prevents people from visiting doctors the blindness is raising, especially amongst poor rural people. He said eye care facilities are mostly concentrated in big cities like Karachi; however, in many districts and towns there are simply no government run eye care facilities. He said it is the need of the hour that every district and town of Sind must have a proper and well equipped state run eye care hospital for the benefit of low income and poor people.

He said the PIMA has been setting up free of cost eye camps in Karachi and the rest of the province. Recently, The Prevention of Blindness POB Trust under the aegis of PIMA recently organized six free eye screening camps in different areas of Karachi including Bihar Colony, Agra Taj, City Railway Colony, PMMC Baloch, Azam Basti, Mussan Chowk Keamari. In these camps 1189 patients were screened for cataract eye surgeries. Moreover, 180 patients were selected for the free cataract eye PHACO surgery by renowned eye surgeons of the city.

In this regard Dr Intizar Hussain Butt, chairman of POB, said that 250 eye surgeons from various parts of Pakistan are providing their free services. Since its establishment in 2005, more than 90,000 operations have been performed under the POB umbrella, with around 1 million patients receiving treatment.

He said the POB is to increase the number of training courses for ophthalmologists and paramedics, eye care institutes in Pakistan, and enhance research. ‘Highly qualified and properly trained workforce of eye specialists is needed for prevention of blindness at grassroots level in Pakistan, and there is also a need to launch programs for poor patients regarding affordable treatment for eye surgeries.’

He said the POB Trust part of PIMA is playing a pivotal role in holding free eye camps at national and international level to render diagnostic and surgical services in far flung areas. The Trust is also striving towards human resource mobilization, training workshops and advocacy with all stakeholders, he added. POB also provides volunteer services in 15 countries outside Pakistan, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Darfur in Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and Gambia.

Dr Salman Ghouri said the PIMA regularly holds free of cost eye screening and surgery camps in slum areas of Karachi. He said twice or thrice a year their surgeons go to rural areas of Sind and hold free eye camps. Recently such a camp was established in Jacobabad where more than 200 patients provided free of cost services of eye experts. He said the PIMA is doing its best to serve people; however, it needs helping hand of philanthropists to further extend the net of its services.