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Fatima Zehra

Fatima Zehra

Organisation: Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT), Pakistan

Role: Programme Manager, Inclusive Eye Health Programme

Fatima Zehra is an eye health professional and project management practitioner with more than a decade of experience in the field of eye health and social inclusion. She has worked with the public sector and national/International Non-Governmental Organizations to enhance health systems by fostering cross-sectoral collaborations, implementing innovative solutions, and ensuring inclusivity.

She started her career in 2013 as a clinical ophthalmology technologist in Karachi. With her hard work, she became a project manager in the public sector, overseeing various eye health projects, such as the Pakistan Urban Pediatric Eye Care, Human Resource Development, Diabetic Retinopathy Screening, and Global Trachoma Mapping Project.

In 2016, she worked with Sightsavers in Islamabad as a project officer for USAID-funded Childhood Blindness Control project. She also contributed to other projects such as Spectacles support, Strengthening Pakistan’s Response to Diabetic Retinopathy, Low Vision, Cataract Surgeries support, and Inclusive Education. She completed the planned targets and milestones for the project and was recognized for her contribution as a project manager by having her article published in “Women in Optometry,” a US publication.

She joined the Al Baseer Foundation in 2017, an eye health organization, where she managed hospital and outreach eye care programs. In 2019, she became a project manager for Vision Trust and managed the School Health and Optometry Internship Programs. She also supports Vision Trust in establishing a Comprehensive Disability Management Center in Punjab, Pakistan.

In 2022, she joined the Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT) and has since been managing an inclusive eye health project in the Rahim Yar Khan district of Punjab in collaboration with CBM-BMZ. She has introduced digital accessibility and innovative solutions through technology and data insights. She facilitated the implementation of a school screening program, utilizing Peek software to improve, optimize, and evaluate eye health services in schools. Additionally, she facilitated the implementation of the School Eye Health Rapid Assessment (SEHRA) in district Rahim Yar Khan to better understand the eye health needs of the school-going children. Her collaborative advocacy efforts led to the development of a district-level Inclusive Eye Health Committee and a multi-year district-inclusive eye health plan, an innovative advocacy tool aligned with the national people-centered integrated eye care plan.

She holds ‘Planning and Managing Eye Care Services’ and ‘Global Eye Health’ certifications from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is also a certified master trainer for ‘Inclusive Eye Health’ and ‘Safeguarding’ in Pakistan, recognized by global experts. She is an active National Inclusive Eye Health Task Force member and has conducted several training sessions to promote inclusive eye health practices across Pakistan.

She co-facilitated the development of a uniform curriculum for allied visual sciences graduates and an inclusive eye health curriculum module for eye health personnel in Pakistan. Her work also includes conducting an eyecare assessment focusing on trachoma services and participatory evaluation on the effectiveness of F&E-focused SAFE strategy Trachoma interventions in Sindh, Pakistan.

She was awarded the “Eye Health Hero Award” in 2020 by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, in addition to other appreciation and recognition awards.