Bringing Light into Dark Lives :: Qatar Tribune


A THREE-MEMBER delegation from Prevention of Blindness (PoB) Trust, a project of Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, recently arrived in Doha to brief the Pakistani community about the ongoing projects of the forum and to seek their support in eradicating blindness.

The delegation comprised Dr Intzar Hussain Butt, chairman of PoB and director of Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA), Professor Dr Imran Akram Sahaf, who is serving at King Edward Medical University and media advisor Akthar Abbas, editor of Urdu Digest, a monthly Urdu magazine of Pakistan.

The trio was on their way back to Pakistan after attending a number of workshops with Palestinian ophthalmologists in Gaza. The delegation visited Gaza under the supervision of PoB Trust and FIMA. The visit aimed at providing better medical facilities and quality treatment to eye patients in Gaza. FIMA is an international coalition of twenty-five national Islamic medical associations fighting disease and suffering in their respective countries.

The PoB Trust was established in July, 2007 as a leading volunteer eye care organisation with the sole mission of preventing blindness and preserving sight.

The PoB Trust is playing a pivotal role in holding free eye camps at national and international level to render diagnostic and surgical services in far flung areas.

The Trust is also striving towards human resource mobilisation, training workshops and advocacy with all stakeholders.

Dr Butt mentioned that Pakistan’s doctors have provided free medical services locally and internationally in collaboration with PoB Trust. In this regard, doctors have treated 900,000 patients including conducting operations of 90,000 patients in their 450 free eye medical camps in 40 districts of Pakistan and 14 different countries of Africa.

Besides, different camps have been setup in the flood affected areas of Pakistan.

The doctors also gave free treatment to prisoners and school children in rural areas of the country.

Briefing community members at a function jointly organised by Pakistan Welfare Forum and Halqa-e-Ahbab at the Pakistan embassy, Butt said the Trust functions without any discrimination and has no jurisdiction. Around 250 doctors are affiliated with Trust who render volunteer services. “Besides Pakistan, we also organise free eye camps around the globe. So far we have served at around 14 different countries including Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, Niger, Indonesia, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Gambia. He said PoB Trust’s activities greatly helped in image building of Pakistan around the world.

Talking about their recent visit to Gaza, Dr Butt said that a memorandum of understanding was signed between PoB Trust and Gaza Health Ministry to provide technical support to ophthalmologists.

Palestine’s doctors will be invited to various hospitals of Pakistan for building their skills regarding eye surgery. “We went to Gaza on the invitation of Gaza Health Minister and stayed there for about a week,” remarked Dr Butt adding that the PoB Trust officials feel immense pleasure in helping Palestinians afflicted by different eye diseases. Dr Butt said PoB Trust can also organise eye camps in Qatar.

Abbas and Sahaf also shared their experiences with the audience about the PoB Trust’s efforts in prevention and eradication of eye diseases. Sahaf gave tips on prevention of eye diseases among children. Dr Butt noted that 37 million people in the world today are blind while 135 million are visually impaired. One person in this world goes blind after every five seconds.

A child goes blind every minute.

Nine out of 10 blind people live in the developing world. “But the silver lining is that 75 percent of global blindness can be prevented or cured,” remarked Dr Butt.

In Pakistan, there are 1.6 million eye patients suffering from various diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, trachoma and diabetic retinopathy, said Dr Butt who is an assistant professor at Services Hospital and Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Lahore. He also serves as consultant ophthalmologist at Ittefaq Hospital Trust Lahore.

Ever since its inception, PoB Trust, has gained momentum with the aim to provide free diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. This can be observed with number of camps held by PoB in deprived and remote areas across the country and worldwide, he said. The medicines to outdoor patients are given absolutely free of cost. Besides, a large number of cataract blinds are operated upon and implanted with intra-ocular lenses (IOL) to restore their vision. Treatments for minor eye ailments are also provided free of cost.

Special pre-operative and post-operative care is taken for patients. In recognition of PoB Trust’s significant services for the prevention of blindness in the region, Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology presented “Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award” to Dr Butt in its 28th congress held in Hyderabad, India in January 2013.

Pakistan Welfare Forum vice-president Ahmad Hassan and Hafiz Mohamed Asif of Halqa-e-Ahbab, appealed to the audience to help in strengthening and carrying out the mission of the PoB. Prominent among those who attended the event were Aleem Paracha, Sher Ali, Zahid Awan, M Ajmal Chaudhary, M Ashraf Siddiqui and Dr Nighat Ara Ajmal.


Last modified on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 16:51
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