Blindness in Pakistan
Pakistan, a country to the northwest of India, is the fifth-most populous country in the world. With such a large population, the government has struggled greatly with providing widespread healthcare to its citizens. The World Health Organization reported that Pakistan is listed as one of 57 countries that experience a shortage in the health workforce. With a greater demand than supply in healthcare, many cannot receive the care that they need. There are also problems with policy and implementation of healthcare across the country.
One of the greatest challenges that Pakistan faces regarding healthcare is the poor distribution of doctors in rural areas. Most doctors choose to practice in cities and in the private sector, so many Pakistanis cannot afford or access medical care.
Blindness is a serious problem in Pakistan. It is estimated that over 1.5 million people are blind in Pakistan. Approximately 80% of these cases are treatable and/or avoidable, so it is crucial that services be made available to people of all incomes, backgrounds and ages. The number of blind people in Pakistan is expected to increase to 2.4 million by the year 2020.
The leading cause of blindness in Pakistan is cataract, which is easily treatable.
SEE in Pakistan
In December 2013, SEE launched a partnership with the Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT) Free Tertiary Eye Hospital. During the program’s first year, SEE volunteer, Dr. Azhar Salahuddin performed a total of 40 sight-restoring surgeries.
In 2017, the SEE team led by Dr. Salahuddin and supported by host Dr. Sayed Rizvi, held two clinics (in January and December) to provide treatment for patients with cataracts, giving them the opportunity to see again.