Islamic Relief Pakistan (IRP) is implementing a two year Eye Health Services focused project “Prevention of Curable Blindness (PCB)” in Balochistan with the support of IRUSA. The overall goal of the project aims to contribute towards prevention and control of blindness in two districts (Chaghai and Washuk) of Balochistan.
Prior to this initiative, IRP implemented a three year project titled “Elimination of Avoidable Blindness” (EAB) from 2012 onwards with the support of IRUSA. Balochistan is the province, where eye healthcare services are almost nonexistent. With more than 60% population living under abject poverty, people cannot afford to travel to far off places like Karachi for quality treatment of eye diseases. Rugged terrain of Balochistan coupled with extreme temperatures, low literacy rate and poor health/hygiene awareness exposes the inhabitants to eye diseases. Simple eye ailments translate into chronic eye diseases, which mostly result into partial or complete blindness. Access to quality eye healthcare, timely treatment and awareness raising can eliminate avoidable blindness. Through eye healthcare projects Islamic Relief Pakistan has reached 120,082 patients (with 2500 cataract surgeries) under five projects over the period of almost a decade. Alongside eye healthcare facilities, IRP has continuously engaged with provincial authorities to take ownership of facilities initiated by IRP and expand it to other districts. Handing over of eye operation theatre in Naushki to health department is a model for counter parts in the field of eye healthcare.
With the inception of PCB staff has diligently served the people of Chagai and Washuk. Quality and popularity of the project have travelled to other adjacent districts of the province so patients from these areas are getting treatment. Parallel to services, area management with the support of country management closely pursued provincial
bureaucracy of health department to transfer the ownership of eye healthcare facility of Chagai to government. It will ensure uninterrupted and sustainable services to the poor people of area. In this perspective, provincial health secretary Mr. Noorul Haq Baloch visited the eye health facility of IRP on 2nd February 2017. On this occasion he met with IR staff, officials of local line departments and community. He was debriefed about various aspects of project and community representatives shared their views about exemplary benefits of the facility. He appreciated unswerving efforts of IRP in general and IR Balochistan team in particular to serve the downtrodden community of remote areas of Balochistan. He assured to IR Balochistan team that he will initiate immediate efforts to take over eye healthcare facility being implemented by Islamic Relief Pakistan.
Subsequent to this visit, Medical Superitendent (MS) of Chagai District Head Quarter (DHQ) Hospital invited local team of IRP to show them space, where IRP eye healthcare facility can be transferred and housed in near future. This portion needs little repair and refurnishing then it would be ready to start services from the premises of DHQ. MS also shared that provincial health department will deploy a qualified Ophthalmologist Surgeon for fifteen days in a month till a permanent replacement is arranged.
Generous support from IRUSA has enabled IRP to serve and advocate for the cause of poor people. With these consistent efforts, avenues have been explored for sustainable eye healthcare services for the people of Balochsitan. Dedication of IRUSA to alleviate suffering of people in Pakistan has transformed the lives of people in those areas where government faces economic challenges to reach. We hope with this unwavering support we can change the lives of poor people in Pakistan.
PCB Phase-out Model: