U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson visited one of the largest providers of eye surgery in Pakistan at the Layton Rahmatullah Benevolent Trust LRBT hospital in Mandra, Punjab, to commemorate World Health Day. LRBT is the recipient of a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s USAID Small Grants Program, which has funded surgeries for 11,417 Pakistani women at LRBT.
The initiative targeted those who are unable to afford treatment for cataracts and other eye ailments. In the past year, USAID has worked with LRBT to fund surgeries at six hospitals throughout Pakistan, located in Akora Khattak, Mansehra, Khanewal, Mandra, Lar, and Rashidabad.
“LRBT’s success over the past year is an excellent example of how our countries can work together to address difficult, health related challenges. USAID’s small grants are used to augment the efforts of Pakistani organizations throughout the country, and I’m pleased we were able to work with LRBT to improve the lives of so many Pakistani women,” the Ambassador said according to a US embassy release on Wednesday.
At the event, the Ambassador toured the hospital, witnessed the use of the latest technologies to conduct surgeries, and heard directly from women who had received USAID-funded surgery about how their lives had been transformed by renewed vision.
USAID’s five year, $25 million Small Grants Program provides opportunities for Pakistani NGOs, civil society groups, private sector organizations, and communities to apply for and receive funding assistance for small to medium sized projects that will help to increase jobs, improve educational opportunities, and increase energy resources. To date, USAID has awarded 43 grants totalling $10.5 million under the Small Grants Program to innovative initiatives in energy, education, adult literacy, and economic policy.