In October 2011, the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation introduced the School Health Program in Pakistan. The program is designed to improve the quality of life and educational performance of children attending primary and secondary schools through improved vision. One of the methods being introduced to help facilitate this goal is health education to promote the treatment of common health conditions and help eliminate avoidable vision impairment and blindness, so more children in Pakistan will have the opportunity to achieve better educational outcomes.
We know that health has a direct impact on learning and absenteeism. Poor health can result in the loss of millions of school days annually. The School Health Program is working in partnership with Al-Ibrahim Eye Hospital; Health and Education Departments; and community based organisations to ensure students have access to essential health services. The Foundation’s involvement is to initiate developing strategies with local partners to facilitate the reduction of avoidable blindness and uncorrected vision impairment in children.
Strategies include health assessment including eye health in schools with follow-up management systems, engaging parents and children to act as agents for change, training of teachers and school support staff, and importantly, linking with other health initiatives to help keep students healthy, support learning and success in school, reinforce positive behaviors and help students develop knowledge and skills to make more informed choices about their health and futures.
The Foundation believes it is important that children are not simply the beneficiaries of school health activities, but are important links in the process for change. Children learn by doing. To achieve greater long term success the program is engaging children to be involved in health implementation activities, promotion aimed at family members, other children, and their communities.
- Number of eye screenings conducted on children: 6642
- Number of glasses dispensed: 178
- Number of teacher trained in vision screening: 318
- Number of health assessments of children: 6542
Al-Ibrahim Eye Hospital, Pakistan Institute of Community Ophthalmology, ISRA School of Optometry, Ida Rieu School for the Blind and Deaf, Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust, Civil Society Human and Institutional Development Program, Pakistan Institute of Ophthalmology, Pakistan Blind Cricket Council, Pakistan Optometric Association and Al Maktoom National Special Education Centre for Visually Impaired.
Australian NGO (non-government organisation) Cooperation Program (ANCP)
Area : 796,095 sq km
Geography: From the coastal areas of the Arabian Sea in the south to the Karakoram mountain range in the north, Pakistan has a blend of landscapes varying from desert plains and lush mountain forests to rolling hills and flat plateaus
Industries include: Textiles and apparel account for most of Pakistan’s industry, however food processing, pharmaceuticals, construction materials and paper product manufacturing are also viable industries
Communication: More than 90% of Pakistanis live within areas that have cell phone coverage and more than half of all Pakistanis have access to a cell phone
Transport: The majority of the roads are paved and railways are an extensive network
*Based on information from www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook