Critical eye bank development & education in Pakistan

Learn about Eversight’s recent visit with partners Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital and Pakistan Eye Bank Society & the continued efforts to treat preventable blindness

Critical eye bank development & education in Pakistan

In May 2024, Eversight Vice President of Partner Relations and Global Development Collin Ross visited partner organizations Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi and Pakistan Eye Bank Society Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, to revitalize local eye bank development efforts that had been on hold for the past few years due to COVID, political climates and natural disasters in Pakistan. 

The main purpose of this trip was to prepare for the pilot launch of the first local eye donation programs involving the use of trained donation coordinators to identify, screen, consent, and coordinate cornea donation cases at one major donor hospital in each major metropolitan area of Pakistan. 

Eversight is one of the few nonprofit eye bank networks with the expertise, cultural competence and philanthropic support to help partners in lower- and middle-income countries establish their own eye banking infrastructure.  

We partner with local governments and medical professionals, working together to make sustainable eye banking, donation and transplantation a reality where the need is greatest. 

The need is great

Pakistan is a country where millions suffer from preventable blindness. In 2019, Eversight worked with Pakistan to open its first state-of-the-art eye banks as part of a new national eye banking network. This visit, along with others planned, continues the work Eversight began five years ago. 

“Although it was brief, the trip was very successful,” Collin said. “Our partners are now on track to make progress against the burden of untreated corneal blindness in Pakistan.” 

During his weeklong visit, Collin spent time in the major cities of Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi where he met with key partners including the Minister of Health of Sindh Province and a representative of a new organ donation consortium that is being organized in Pakistan. 

Collin also participated in interviewing finalist candidates for the new donation coordinator positions in Islamabad and Karachi, and helped our partners to select very impressive candidates to fill these roles. 

Eye bank development in Pakistan
Eye bank development in Pakistan

The momentum is strong

Collin also had the opportunity to record a brief video segment with a Pakistani news channel about the burden of corneal blindness and the importance of local cornea donation in Pakistan.  
Eye bank development work with Pakistan eye bank society
Eye bank development work with Pakistan eye bank society

Since the Pakistan Eye Bank Society and Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital began their formal eye bank operations in 2019, they have performed over 2,500 life-changing transplants for Pakistanis across the country, primarily with tissue from U.S. donors provided by Eversight. The eventual success of a local eye donation program is critical to make more transplants possible for the many people in need. 

“Our work in Pakistan has been helped enormously by the efforts of not only the Global Development team, but in preparing for the onboarding and training of the donation coordinators we have been helped greatly by our colleagues in Eversight’s Donation Support Center,” Collin said. “They have generously shared their expertise and training materials to educate the new donation coordinators who will be starting work in Pakistan very soon.” 

Collin’s next planned trip to Pakistan is in August 2024 to keep the momentum going and line up additional support for expanding local cornea donation in the country. If you feel inspired to support our global development work, please consider giving a financial gift today. 

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