Achieving sustainable and inclusive eye healthcare in Pakistan

A healthcare worker in a black and white hijab assists a woman in a red headscarf, who is closely examining a document. The interaction takes place in an indoor setting.

Arete / Akifullah Khan / CBM

CBM and LRBT are improving eye healthcare in Pakistan through a project that offers advanced services, including low vision services, cataract surgeries and free spectacles, benefiting over 200,000 people.

CBM, which has been active in eye health in Pakistan for over 50 years, has received support from the Pakistani government to replicate its inclusive eye health model in Rahimyar Khan, Punjab province. The model is being implemented by CBM's partner, Layton Rahmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT), Pakistan's largest provider of eye care services and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The project aims to enhance the eye care system in the area by providing advanced equipment and services such as cataract surgeries, free spectacles, and visual aids to patients who cannot afford the costs, especially children. Additionally, a low-vision clinic has been established in a secondary school hospital, catering to adults, students, and children with special needs. The project also assists persons with disabilities in obtaining national identity cards.

Cataract surgery for Zitoon and 1500 others

The project has reached out to more than 200,000 people, conducted over 1,500 cataract surgeries, provided over 80 visual aids, and distributed over 12,000 eyeglasses to the people of Rahimyar. CBM Pakistan ensured sustainability by engaging local authorities through early involvement, joint workshops, and meetings. The project also aligned with government policies, shared monthly reports, and sustained advocacy for eye health.

A District Inclusive Eye Health (DIEH) Committee was formed during quarterly meetings for the project. The committee worked on a comprehensive plan titled "Strengthening Inclusive & Quality Eye Care Services in District Rahim Yar Khan, the province of Punjab", for 2024-2026, which has now been officially endorsed by the office of the district's Deputy Commissioner. This is a significant milestone towards inclusive eye care services in Pakistan and aligns with the Punjab Integrated People-Centred Eye Care (IPEC) Plan 2020-2025.

CBM is immensely proud of this significant milestone achieved in Pakistan. The District Inclusive Eye Health Plan is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that quality eye care health services are directly accessible at the community level. This is just the beginning, and we believe this approach should be replicated in other districts of Pakistan and other countries, paving the way for a brighter future in eye health care.
Dr. M. Babar Qureshi, CBM Director of Inclusive Eye Health Initiative