RAWALPINDI:Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital has decided to expand its outreach to the countries member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to build their capacity, prevent blindness and provide timely eye care.

Initially, surgical camps will be held at Kampala (Uganda), Niamey (Niger) and Serrekunda (Gambia) and later the ambit of services will be expanded to other countries, said a press statement issued here Tuesday. In this connection, an MOU has been signed between Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Rawalpindi and COMSTECH – OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

The two sides agreed to build capacity of deserving nations in ophthalmology and prevent blindness through providing training and conducting eye camps. The MoU ceremony held at COMSTECH Headquarters and signed by Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General, COMSTECH and Maj. Gen. Rehmat Khan (Retd), President, Al- Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Rawalpindi.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, Prof. Dr. Faqir Muhammad Anjum and Mr. Mohammad Adeel, Assistant Director, Science Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan were also present on the occasion.

Pakistan Institute of Ophthalmology, the academic wing of Al- Shifa Trust will impart training to doctors and paramedical staff in ophthalmology, optometry, orthoptics and public health etc. Trust will also offer observerships for 4 to 12 weeks and one-year clinical fellowships to candidates from OIC countries in the subspecialties, such as the cornea and refractive surgery, vitreo-retina, paediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma, orbit and oculoplastic.

A delegation of qualified surgeons will be sent to the pre-selected OIC member states to undertake surgical camps for cataract as well as perform advanced surgical procedures for diseases such as cornea, glaucoma, obits and oculoplastic, vitreo-retina, paediatric eye disorders and, ocular oncology.

Special emphasis will be given to carry out research in areas of ocular epidemiological studies, ocular imaging, ocular genetics, data analytics, cytokines and biomarkers for ocular pathologies, clinical trials, clinical studies and ocular therapeutics.