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November 6, 2007

80 percent blindness cases preventable or curable: Iqbal

 
November 6, 2007

LAHORE:

PUNJAB Health Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal has said that funds are being provided to public sector hospitals for the complete elimination of blindness from the country by 2020.

According to a handout here on Monday, the minister, while taking to a delegation of eye specialists at his office, said that development projects worth Rs 250 million were being implemented for prevention of blindness.

He said that it has been decided to upgrade Punjab Institute of Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Sciences. He said that graduate and postgraduate classes as well as degree courses for paramedical staff and other health staffers would be started at the institute. He said that a Punjab Eye Bank would also be established for proper storage of cornea.

He said a survey was being conducted in the province to ascertain the causes of eye diseases so that preventive measures could be adopted and eye tests of 50,000 children were being conducted for obtaining information about the blind children.

He said that about 90 percent of the world’s blind lived in the developing countries, however, there was hope given the fact that 80 percent cases of the blindness were either preventable or curable and the blindness due to cataract, trachoma corneal blindness, low vision and refractive errors could be cured through preventive and treatment measures. He said that a five million dollar project to provide state-of-the-art ophthalmologic facilities to the people of far-flung areas had been launched with the financial assistance of a Non Governmental Orginisation (NGO) from Australia.

Another project worth of 12 million dollar had also been started in collaboration with the financial assistance of Sight Savor International United Kingdom for the provision of state-of-the-art ophthalmologic facilities to the people of backward areas. He said that effective measures were being taken to improve administrative affairs of all government

hospitals in the province. He warned absentee doctors and paramedical staff of strict action.