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Business community should support war on blindness: Samina Fazil Lack of blindness prevention initiatives result in economic productivity loss everyone has a right to sight: Murtaza Mughal

February 17, 2012

Islamabad: Samina Fazil, founder President, Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Friday asked the business community to support those who have waged war on blindness.

Eradication of preventable blindness from Pakistan is a noble cause which merits attention of the private sector, she said.

90 per cent of the visually impaired live in developing countries out of which 80 per cent can be cured, said Samina Fazil.

Speaking at a condolence reference held on the first anniversary of Gen. Jahan Dad, founder of Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, she said that 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.

Globally 19 million children are visually impaired out of which only 1.4 million are irreversibly blind, she added.

She said that issues hampering the efforts to eradicate preventable blindness include lack of facilities, volunteers, advocacy, donations, community services and support teaching to help blind live independently.

Samina Fazil said that IWCCI has decided to support mission of Jahan Dad Khan who ensured free treatment to over half a million annually since 1985.

She asked the current chairman of the trust Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Hamid Javaid to speed-up plans for establishing more eye hospitals in remote areas.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of the Pakistan Economy Watch said that low-income countries can make progress in avoidable blindness if developed ones support them.

He said that difficulty in accessing eye care services and lack of blindness prevention programmes is resulting in loss of productivity.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that limitations and implications of visual impairment cannot be measured; however, it diminishes the quality of life for blind and their families.

Disabled have no voice, many take them as a liability, he said adding that most of the blind schools in Pakistan are in a very poor state needing more funds, equipment, manpower and regular visits of eye doctors.

Nearly one in ten people in Pakistan are visually impaired, around one per cent are blind in both eyes of whom 70 per cent lives in villages, he informed.

Cultural issues put women on disadvantage while blindness in elderly people is generally considered a natural part of the ageing process which is debateable, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal.

Provision of proper sight restoring facilities can make majority of 2 million useful citizens who have a right to sight, he said

For more information, contact:
Samina Fazil
Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mobile: +92323 5343199
Tel: +9251 2252256

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