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Fiza Rasool Mastoi

In a patriarchal society like Pakistan, where roles of political leadership and professional fields are predominantly occupied by men, it is exciting to see females, like Fiza Rasool, breaking cultural barriers and joining professional fields such as optometry. Fiza wanted to become an ophthalmologist but in that she could not succeed. However, this failure has never stopped her from becoming an eye health professional and she ended up as an optometrist.

She is passionate about child eye health and has contributed for one of the largest child eye health initiative in the country supported by “Seeing is Believing”. She has never made her gender ‘a barrier’ and conducted schools screening activities in highly insecure circumstances. She believes in ethical medical practices and would love to train all the health professionals in ethical practices if she is in a decision-making role.

Only a trendsetter defines trend and leaders build leaders. We are nominating her for Eye Health Hero Award 2020, because she is a role model for many in her family and area. After she broke the cultural barriers, many girls have joined eye health and are serving in different organisations. She believes that optometry has a long way to go and must be promoted in Pakistan and other developing countries. She also believes that more training institutes to produce optometrists are needed to be established to meet the eye health needs of increasing population in global south. She has therefore decided to join academia to inspire more girls to join the field of optometry.

She is adventurous by nature, cherishes travelling and outreach activities, guides other colleagues and students and comfortably mingles with male colleagues. She is action oriented and goes the extra mile when it comes to patient examination. She believes that an eye health professional should also be a counsellor and good human being.

“I feel proud that I am in a profession I love. My aim is to contribute, through every possible way, to bringing about a meaningful change in the quality of life of visually impaired people especially in most marginalised parts of the country. I am really excited about my nomination as Eye Health Hero and looking forward to recognition of my contribution for eye health.”

— Fiza Rasool Mastoi