Inclusive Eye Health in Pakistan

Babar Qureshi

10GA Speaker Babar Qureshi (CBM) on his part in CBM’s upcoming course, ‘Inclusion Made Easy in Health Programmes that focuses on disability inclusive practices for eye care.

According to global figures, people with disability, including those with vision impairment, make up 20% of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. It is therefore essential that everyone working in eye health, including planners, providers, evaluators and funders, understand key steps they can take at their own level, to build inclusion for all people.

 Since 2009, CBM has been working on approaches to Inclusive Eye Health (IEH) with two key objectives:

  • People with all disabilities access eye health services
  • People with permanent vision loss access wider opportunities, i.e. in all areas of health care, rehabilitation, education, livelihoods, social inclusion, and empowerment

In this context, CBM established pilot projects in inclusive eye health in Cambodia, Vietnam and Pakistan in 2009-10. Subsequently, pilots were run in India, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. CBM is now working with a range of other countries to strengthen inclusive practices in eye health. In 2011, CBM published its first Inclusive Eye Health manual, and an updated version followed in 2014.

CBM recently commissioned a study to identify good practice, and evidence of strengths and weaknesses in the Pakistan IEH pilot, which was implemented in Charsadda district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Province, through CBM’s partner CHEF International. This programme worked with 4 Basic Health Units at the primary level, one district hospital at the secondary level as well as a number of local schools. It was implemented in the context of the 2010 floods which had caused significant damage to the physical infrastructure of the local partners.

The key strengths identified in the study were:

  • Greater accessibility of eye health services
  • A new national government focus on inclusive eye health and integration into government systems
  • The creation of a sustainable referral system
  • Greater community awareness of services and a change in community perceptions of people with disabilities

The key areas for improvement identified were:

  • Better analysis of data needed
  • Further improvements to accessibility and referral systems needed
  • Further improvements for awareness within the community, particularly in terms of policies and referral services, needed

So, don’t miss CBM’s course on 29 October, to hear about the details of this study, and CBM’s wider work in Inclusive Eye Health.