Status: Recently completed
In South Asia, approximately 71.6 million people live with moderate or severe visual impairment and around 10.6 million are blind (Stevens et al, 2014). As for the situation in Pakistan, a national prevalence survey from 2004 showed a blindness prevalence rate of 2.7% for adults above 30 years old where cataract represented the leading cause (51.5%) (Jadoon, Dineen et al, 2006). The same study reported that refractive error is the first cause of visual impairment (43%) followed by cataract (42%). Despite existing interventions and public health programs, cataracts and refractive errors continue to be significant public health concerns.
Urban health is a growing area of interest given the high urbanisation rates globally. Even though availability of eye care services is less of an issue in urban areas compared to rural areas, these services are not always accessible, particularly for marginalised population such as urban slum dwellers and/or the urban poor.
Population projections show that population in urban slums will increase at a faster rate than the general population and health access disparities are expected to further increase as a result. This makes it important to investigate and address these health disparities in urban areas. Following two successful research projects carried out in Bangladesh and India, this study will contribute to the evidence base for programming and a better understanding on the demand and provision of eye care services to people living in slums in urban settings.