Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson and Punjab Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah inaugurated a new hostel at the King Edward Medical University’s College of Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Sciences (COAVS), in Lahore.
The hostel will house 250 ophthalmic students, mostly women from far-flung areas of Pakistan, and facilitate them to pursue education in a secure environment. The students will be studying ophthalmology (a branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the eye and visual system).
The Australian Government and the Fred Hollows Foundation jointly funded the hostel under the Pakistan Australia Prevention of Avoidable Blindness (PAPAB) project at the cost of PKR 75 million. The land for the building has been provided by the Government of Punjab.
Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson, King Edward Medical University Principal Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan, Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Amjad Shahzad and Medical Education Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah were present on the occasion.
Inaugurating the hostel High Commissioner Margaret Adamson said, “The availability of secure accommodation is an important step to encourage women, particularly those from remote areas of Pakistan, to build their careers through higher education.”
“The Australian Government’s continued support to the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation in Pakistan reflects our strong belief that providing quality care for those affected by various forms of blindness is key to improving their economic and social opportunities” Ms. Adamson added.
Dr. Asad Aslam Khan informed that the hostel was a long desire of the students as around 66 percent of the students are female and most of the students belong to remote areas of Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and few African countries.
Earlier, “Students had to travel on public and private transport to reach the college resulting in late arrival and insecurity. The proposal of Rs 75 million for construction of the hostel was prepared and generously accepted by Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF) Australia. The project was managed to be completed in six months,” the principal apprised. Dr Asad also appreciated the role of the Australian government and people for all the collaborative efforts in comprehensive eye care services.
Her Excellency, Margaret Adamson, shared that Australian government’s continued support to the work of the FHF in Pakistan reflects the strong belief that providing quality care for those affected by various forms of blindness is key to improving their economic and social opportunities. She was satisfied that the partnership and Australian government’s support in Pakistan has really made a difference to the country.
FHF Pakistan Country Manager Farooq Awan also expressed his views on the occasion and showed a video in which students residing in hostel expressed their views to reflect the need of hostel accommodation. Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Amjad Shahzad presented vote of thanks to the honorable guests.
Specialized Health Care and Medical Education Secretary Najum Ahmed Shah visited the College of Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Sciences, its classes, the newly inaugurated hostel and clinical departments and appreciated the standard delivery of eye care services. He praised the efforts of Australian government in collaborative eye care services and emphasized the replication of such examples as role models in all parts of Pakistan.
The College of Ophthalmology & Allied Vision Sciences (COAVS) at Kind Edward Medical University Lahore is a premier training institute providing quality training to Allied Ophthalmic Personnel in the country. More than 600 ophthalmic personnel have already graduated from COAVS and are serving in public and private sector hospitals in Pakistan, playing a pivotal role in eliminating avoidable blindness.
The Pakistan Australia Prevention of Avoidable Blindness (PAPAB) project, funded by the Australian Government, is the fifth consecutive project by The Fred Hollows Foundation in Pakistan since 1998.