Muhammad Kareem, an elderly person from Chaman Balochistan, apprised PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST that he was at LRBT for the treatment of his eyes and was rather delighted that the doctors and the ancillary staff were quite nice to every patient.
Muhammad Yaseen, an impoverished citizen of Rahim Yar Khan, brought his 60 years old sister, Jeevan, for her eye-treatment. He himself got treated free of cost at LRBT.
Abdul Lateef from Khairpur Mirs came to Karachi for the treatment of the eyes of his son. He is an employee at a petrol pump with monthly income of nine thousand rupees. He went to a private hospital where he was asked for an exorbitant amount of money, which he cannot afford. Fortunately, someone apprised him about LRBT. He is exuberant to share that entire treatment of his son would be free of cost and his son would not encounter the ordeal of blindness.
Shah Mohammad from Gambat along with his one year old son was at LRBT for the treatment. Both are being treated free of cost for which Shah Mohammad was appreciative of LRBT and thanked the Almighty.
PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST was briefed about the LRBT by Dr Syed Fawad Rizvi, Lt. Col. Dr. Malik Ahmed Saeed and Ms. Mudassara Samiullah at LRBT Tertiary Teaching Eye Hospital Korangi the preceding week.
LRBT was established in 1984 by 2 retiring businessmen Graham Layton & Zaka Rahmatulla.
LRBT began its free services in Tando Bago in District Badin in 1984 as a small mobile unit. The network of hospitals and PECCs is spread over 4 provinces of the country in a manner that no Pakistani is more than 3 hour bus ride away from an LRBT facility. During the 35 years of its existence, over 47 million patients have been treated and over 4.6 million major and minor surgeries have been performed. All treatment as well as surgery at LRBT is totally free for the poor. LRBT is present in all 4 provinces of Pakistan with a network of 19 fully-equipped Hospitals, 54 Primary-Eye-Care-Clinics and 4 Outreach Clinics. Except for Karachi (Korangi and North Karachi), (Lahore and Quetta), the remaining 15 hospitals are in small towns and rural areas where poverty is greatest and the facilities the poorest. Virtually all Pakistanis are now able to access high-quality, free-eye-treatment from LRBT Hospitals, within 200 kilometers of their residence. At LRBT, there are highly skilled doctors with vast experience. 75 out of 195 doctors have post graduate qualifications. Their expertise is constantly refreshed by sending them for specialized courses, training and conferences both locally & internationally. Furthermore, Senior Ophthalmologists including Professors serve as honorary Consultants & visit 19 hospitals of LRBT intermittently. To complement the expertise of the doctors, state-of-the-art-technology from medically advanced countries like the US, Germany, Switzerland, Japan etc. find their way to LRBT hospitals through private and corporate donations. The total cost of this specialized equipment is Rs 673 million ($6.8 million).
During the year ending June’20 LRBT treated 2.4 million patients in OPD and performed over 215,709 major and minor surgeries. LRBT apart from General Ophthalmology (which includes Cataract) runs several special programs including Pediatric, Female blindness, School Screening, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy. LRBT runs the largest program for postgraduate ophthalmological training in the country with 51 doctors currently in its Fellowship/Membership programs at Korangi, Lahore Township and Lahore (Multan Road) Tertiary hospitals. LRBT is the largest NGO of Pakistan fighting blindness & transforming lives. One out of every three eye patients in Pakistan are treated at LRBT.
LRBT, through its purpose-built and appropriately-equipped hospitals provide comprehensive eye-care, ranging from simple refraction to the most advanced retinal surgery and corneal transplants. Every day thousands of patients visit 19 hospitals of LRBT for the treatment of Refractive Errors, Diagnostic Tests & Procedures, Cataract, Glaucoma, Retinal Diseases including Diabetic Retinopathy & Macular Degeneration, Cornea and External Eye Disease, Lacrimal Disorder, Pediatric Eye Care, Oculo-Plastic Services, Orbital Disorder, Uveitis Clinic and Low Vision.
While communicating with PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST, Ms Shabana Shahzad from LRBT shared that no other charity has ever treated such enormous number of patients. LRBT treats over 10,600 patients daily and does approximately 1000 surgeries daily. LRBT treats all eye ailments with state-of-the-art technology and experienced panel of ophthalmologists and surgeons. LRBT, the largest free eye care network in Pakistan recently reached another milestone of treating its 47 millionth patient – 8 year old Rehmat from Quetta. A student of grade 1, Rehmat had minor itching in his left eye which eventually turned into corneal opacity due to negligence, lack of awareness and unaffordability. His father, a laborer who supports the family of 12 by sewing tents, could not afford to get his beloved son treated. LRBT came as his sight savior and cured him from going blind forever. At LRBT, Rehmat was examined and was advised a corneal transplant at the earliest as his cornea had been damaged. The corneal tissue was arranged and transplanted for free, restoring his vision. Rehmat is now back at school.