Australia support to eradicate blindness from Pakistan

June 17, 2014

 Islamabad, June 17, 2014 - Minister of State for Nation Health Services Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar has said government of Pakistan is particularly grateful to Australian Government and Fred Hollows Foundation Australia for their tremendous support to eradicate blindness from Pakistan. While she was addressing on the occasion of launching of news eye health projects by Fred Hollows Foundations Sightsavers & CBM here today in Islamabad. She said this step of their will have long lasting impact on the friendship between Australia and Pakistan. DFAT and Fred Hollows Foundation have enabled us to reach the communities, has enabled us to reach the Un reached .I am always mindful that services apart from being available should also be affordable to the major segment of the population. I was very impressed to hear from Prof Asad that even this aspect has been taken care of by Fred Hollows Foundation by ensuring the availability of high quality affordable IOLs in Pakistan, thus ensuring high quality rehabilitation of cataract blind patients. Their donation of Rs 224.0 Million will be remembered for ever by the people of Pakistan. 

She said that I am pleased to note that National Committee, provincial boards, College of Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Sciences Lahore, Pakistan Institute of Community Ophthalmology Peshawar, CEC-Cells Sindh and Balochistan are working with utmost dedication and devotion to implement the National Programme and VISION 2020 and the  Central focus of this program is the district eye care delivery system. This is indeed the right direction and the course for a country like Pakistan and is in line with the policy and priorities of the government. The development of any sector is based on well planned and consolidated efforts.   She said moving beyond the district eye care programme to develop subspecialties of Vireoretina, Paediatric Ophthalmology and now Cornea and Glaucoma are marvelous efforts by the National Committee and to me perhaps are the best example of planning and moving forward to achieve targets to prevent needless blindness.   \

She further said the collaborate efforts of the National Committee and the International Donor Organizations are excellent example of sharing the load that is usually perceived as a sole responsibility of the Government. For this Government is grateful to Australian Government, DFAT, Fred Hollows Foundation Australia, DFID, Sight Savers International of UK and CMB Germany.
   Government of Pakistan is also grateful to British government, people of United Kingdom for taking care of needy and poor patients through DFID and Sightsavers. We also appreciate the tremendous support by Standard Chartered Bank towards our efforts towards eradication of unnecessary blindness through its seeing is Believing Programme.   

Government of Pakistan is also grateful to German government and people of Germany for all the past projects and new Regional Cataract programme showing their goodwill to people of Pakistan through CBM.
   I also assure that ministry will take every step to bring the issues of blindness as a priority in the National health Agenda after 18th Amendment blind project is now devolve subject it has given to the province Saira Afzal Tarar said she held a last meeting with Planning Minister, Secretary and high officials of the Finance Ministry to allocate the funds for the province for the different health projects.