Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

Dr Ramesh Puri

The Fred Hollows Foundation is working hard to restore sight and eradicate preventable blindness in Pakistan

Right now, around 32.4 million people around the world are blind and four out of five of them don’t need to be. But The Fred Hollows Foundation is working hard to restore sight and eradicate preventable blindness. Through Sada-e-Watan, the Foundation would like to proudly announce that wa are working in more than 20 developing countries, including in Pakistan, where it has been working since 1998.

Dr Ramesh Puri oversees The Foundation’s work in the South Asia and Middle East region, including in Pakistan. Dr Ramesh is based in Nepal, but visited Sydney last week to meet with colleagues and share his experience from the field.

“I am responsible for providing management support to The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Pakistan programs to ensure that our programs are running effectively and achieving results; i.e. ending avoidable blindness in Pakistan,” Dr Ramesh said.

“With the funding support from the Australian Government and in partnership with the Pakistan Government and private not-for-profit organisations, The Foundation has worked to strengthen over 50 district hospitals through the provision of equipment support, training of ophthalmologists, mid-level health workers and primary health care workers, so that they have been able to provide comprehensive eye care services at primary and secondary levels.”

In Pakistan, The Fred Hollows Foundation works with partners to build their capacity to screen for eye diseases, performs surgery to treat conditions such as cataract and diabetic retinopathy, and distributes glasses to help improve sight for people with vision impairment.

The Foundation also supports specialist eye care for children and adults through a new eye unit at Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, which opened a few years ago. The unit’s focus is on helping children with serious eye conditions and detecting and treating diabetic retinopathy in adults before the damage becomes irreversible.

The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Pakistan Program Coordinator, Rashin Choudhry, said before the unit was opened, people often had to travel long distances to access quality eye care.

“Before, children in the region needed to travel to far-off cities to receive treatment for complicated paediatric eye conditions, but they now can have their operations in Peshawar,” says The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Pakistan Program Coordinator, Rashin Choudhry.

“Diabetic retinopathy is a growing problem in Pakistan. In the past, patients would have visited the diabetes unit but never had their eyes screened until they suffered irreversible vision loss. They are now being reached much sooner and offered treatment before it is too late.
"The services are so good we are even seeing patients from Afghanistan coming for treatment."

New figures show that in 2014 alone the Foundation screened over 434,000 people in Pakistan and provided more than 4,548 people with glasses.The Foundation also performed 17,576 cataract operations, 7,728 diabetic retinopathy procedures and 180,158 other sight-saving or improving interventions.

Dr Ramesh has returned to Nepal to continue his work in South Asia and the Middle East. To support his work and that of The Foundation, people can donate at:

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