During the last 20 years, incredible progress has been made to strengthen eye health systems in Pakistan through public/private partnerships. Working with international organizations, the national program for prevention and control of blindness has improved infrastructure, human resources and outreach of eye care services to a great extent. A comprehensive eye care approach that identifies districts as a unit of implementation, while establishing the link between primary and secondary health care, played a key role in this change.
Despite this, it is alarming that public sector share in this extraordinary progress is only one-sixth, which is lower than the contribution made by a single charity organization. As a whole, four-fifths (82.3 per cent) of the burden is shared by non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
A fifth of the districts couldn’t develop cataract surgical services and do not contribute to the national cataract surgical rate. Half of the districts have a cataract surgical rate lower than 2,000 – this is far below global standards. Additionally, cataract surgical services are restricted to urbanized districts with inequitable resource distribution for eye health. Cataract surgical rate is critically low in the districts where charity hospitals are not operating. This makes cataract surgical services inequitable and inaccessible for poor communities in peripheral districts.
The big question is: why do people prefer accessing cataract surgical services at private/charity hospitals despite free services (as the government claims) being available at government hospitals? Is the public health system working efficiently while ensuring value for public money? In the long run, Pakistan’s health sector needs some structural changes to improve governance, accountability and efficiency. It is essential that these changes take place soon, and in a way that ensures health services are affordable and equitable.
Pakistan is among 12 countries with the highest cataract surgical rate, which is the number of cataract operations performed per million people in one year and is used as a proxy indicator of access to cataract services in a country.
Huge number of patients have not been getting treatment due to COVID19 since they are avoiding visiting the hospitals. This has caused a huge number of patients who now require surgeries. This excess load of patients who are waiting for their surgeries need your support.
We at Fatima Memorial Hospital have taken this initiative of not only creating awareness about the treatment of cataract but it also provides free treatment to those suffering from this painful disease.
It is pertinent to mentioned that the number of patients waiting in line for surgeries has increased due to COVID19 and in general, the number of cataract patients is increasing day by day, the resources of FMH are limited, we require donations from our altruistic donors. At the moment when the COVID19 pandemic has taken over by storm, all the resources have been diverted towards treating COVID19 patients which is affecting other medical treatments. At this point in time we need extra support from out valued donors so that we can also address cataract surgeries which are increasing day by day.
As a charitable trust hospital, we are heavily dependent on the assistance of our generous donors who could support it in the pursuit of saving the eyesight of many of the cataract patients. We request you for your continued support in helping us treat these patients.