Skip to content

Young Systems Leader: Punam Bhandari Karki

Punam Bhandari Karki

Punam Bhandari Karki

Organisation: HCP Cure Blindness

Role: Country Director, Nepal

Punam Bhandari serves as a Country Director of Nepal and Bhutan, overseeing HCP’s Cureblindness initiatives in both nations. She holds a master’s degree in business administration, she has previously collaborated extensively with local partners and the Nepalese government across diverse development areas, including livelihood, infrastructures, rural health, and sanitation and hygiene, before transitioning to focus on eye health.

It’s been two years since she joined the eye health sector, in these years she has demonstrated remarkable commitment to advancing eye health. Her efforts focus on strengthening local capabilities, ensuring high-quality infrastructure and equipment, facilitating quality patient care, and promoting effective prevention measures. Collaborating closely with national governments and partners, she oversees HCP Cureblindness projects aimed at eliminating avoidable blindness in underserved regions of Nepal and Bhutan, helping individuals regain and retain their sight.

In many developing countries, key obstacles to accessing eye health care include limited availability, affordability, and accessibility of services, as well as a lack of awareness about eye diseases and care options. Her goal is to address these challenges by establishing affordable, high-quality eye care services in underserved areas. Collaborating with partners like the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal, and Royal Government of Bhutan, she aims to expand sustainable primary eye care in partnership with the government. This includes establishing and enhancing community-level surgical centers and linking them to tertiary care facilities through telemedicine for specialized care.

The Integrated People-Centric Eye Care (IPEC) is a cornerstone of the WHO’s In Sight 2030 initiative, endorsed by the governments of Nepal and Bhutan. However, effective eye care provision faces challenges due to limited resources, insufficient infrastructure, and a shortage of trained professionals. Acknowledging these challenges, she works together with HCP Cureblindness’s existing and new partners to implement innovative technologies and evidence-based strategies to enhance eye care services.

Her dedication to advancing integrated, people-centered eye care has had a significant impact on the lives of individuals in underserved areas, particularly women, children, and the elderly.