USAID Blindness Program Assists One Million Children in 23 Countries
USAID has supported programs to reduce childhood blindness since 1991. This year, 31 projects reached over one million people in 23 countries. Together, these projects screened 950,000 children and 61,000 adults — many of whom are teachers in school-based eye health programs. In countries like
There are 17 million children in the world with low vision or blurred eye sight. Children with inadequate vision often drop out of school when they cannot see the blackboard or letters in a book, and suffer the lifelong consequences of low education. The majority of these children experience refractive errors that can be corrected with glasses. This year, USAID supported programs in 10 countries that have distributed over 11,000 pairs of eyeglasses to children.
USAID Global Health Bureau Deputy Assistant Administrator
One of USAID’s grantees, VisionSpring, is innovating approaches to delivering eye glasses to people with refractive error. VisionSpring trains vision entrepreneurs to screen adults and children and sell a variety of low-cost glasses. In addition to providing access to eye care in rural Indian communities, these vision entrepreneurs are earning income and are better able to support their own families. Rama Devi, a vision entrepreneur in Mahbubnagar, used to sell her handiwork for around
Some children require more intensive care, and now have affordable access to hospital services through USAID’s Child Blindness Program. With high-quality surgical and post-operative care, USAID grantees restored sight to 921 children in 10 countries this year.
For the five million children who are blind, mobility and educational training can create a lifetime of opportunities. Kean, who is 6 years old from
In many countries, blind children are neglected and never receive opportunities to engage in society or education systems. With the help of USAID, grantees like Perkins are putting these systems within reach, so more children like Kean can live full and productive lives.
For more information about USAID and its child survival programs, visit http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.
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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development