Supporting high-quality inclusive eye health in Pakistan

Posted on: Friday, 6th October, 2017
Students and eye health professionals discussing inclusive eye health in groups

CBM  together with local partners have launched the first ever training programme at university level to promote inclusive eye health in Pakistan. It took place in September at CBM’s partner organization, the College of Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Science (COAVS) in Lahore, and was attended by COAVS’ students who are specializing in eye health.

The course shows how improved access to eye health programmes and high quality outcomes can be achieved for people with disabilities and for other marginalised groups.

It also highlights the needs of those with permanent vision impairment for wider opportunities for inclusion and improved quality of life such as counselling, rehabilitation, education, employment and involvement in community life.

A model for inclusivity

David Lewis OAM, CBM’s Focal Point for Inclusion in Eye Health’ says

"Pakistan is achieving very high standards of care in its eye health sector. The hope is that the inclusive training will mean the most marginalised people access eye health for the long term. We believe this work launched in Pakistan will provide a model for other countries.”

"It’s important for CBM to set up change in a way that enables any country we work in to be fully responsible for strengthening inclusion on its own terms as soon as possible.”

Male wheelchair user demonstrates using ramp, which students are measuringThe course included input from members of a local Disabled People's Organisation, who spoke  about the practical, social and economic barriers that people with disabilities can face in accessing health services and accompanied students on a visit to a hospital to consider these in practice.   Local course co-ordinator, Sara Ikram, says the eye health staff and students who have taken part in the course have shown appreciation of the “really professional training” and “opportunities to learn about inclusion.”  

CBM will be involved in the project until the end of 2018, after which the Pakistan Eye Health Services will be fully responsible.

New task force for nationwide change

In collaboration with the National Eye Care Co-ordinator and National Committee for the Prevention of Blindness, CBM has also initiated a national task force within Pakistan's Ministry of Health to drive further change for inclusion in eye health across Pakistan.

Dr Babar Qureshi, CBM’s Director of Inclusive Eye Health says, 

“We are working very closely with the government in Pakistan to embed inclusive approaches in eye care services across the national health system.”

Image: Top - Eye-health staff and students participating in the course. Right - member of a local Disabled People's Organisation accompanies course participants on a visit to a hospital to look at various aspects of accessibility, including ramps and signage. 


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