Writer and comedian Gretel Killeen recently visited Pakistan and saw the impact of The Foundation's work. Unfortunately, the Australian Government is planning to cut funding to our Pakistan program, despite the effect on 1,200 premature babies who'll miss out on care to reduce the risk of blindness, or the 18,000 patients who won't receive sight-saving cataract operations.
We captured some remarkable images during Gretel's visit which highlight the range of people who may not get the eye care they need.
I saw doctors, surgeons and nurses... working to return sight to the poor, the prematurely born, the traumatised, loved and lost who would otherwise have been abandoned, uneducated, vulnerable...
- Gretel Killeen
Anam, 17, is from a small village outside of Lahore. She has five sisters and three brothers, two of whom are blind. Anam herself developed bilateral cataract. But despite living in extreme poverty Anam was able to get help. She said, “things are beautiful now and I thank God I can see.”
Pakistan has the fourth highest rate of premature babies in the world, and babies born premature are at risk of blindness from Retinopathy of Prematurity. They need to be regularly checked in their first few months. The Fred Hollows Foundation is supporting a program to screen 1200 babies to prevent them becoming blind. Here, Fouzia Akmal and Salma Arshad and Hafzia Mumtaz wait for testing on their babies.
Farhan Ali and his mother after his successful surgery. Farhan is in Year 10 at school. A year ago, while playing cricket, he was hit in the left eye with a cricket ball. It was a significant injury and he was left with cloudy vision. He was diagnosed as having a traumatic cataract and but after a successful surgery, his vision was restored.
Asia, 8, is tested for glasses at The College of Ophthalmlogy and Allied Vision Sciences.
Faizan, 5, had surgery after he suffered a traumatic cataract from a thread cutter injury. After his operation, his dad Muhammad says his sight is “very much improving” and is back to 80 per cent thanks to the doctors trained by The Fred Hollows Foundation.
Continued funding for this is vital. But, if we want the funding to continue then we must speak up...
- Gretel Killeen
If you're concerned about funding cuts affecting our work in Pakistan or other parts of the world, please consider making a donation
to help those who need it most.