The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital utilizes this McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 as a flying hospital. The former wide-boday airline previously served Laker Airways (as G-BELO), American Trans Air (N183AT), Cal Air International (G-GCAL), Novair (G-GCAL) before going to Project Orbis as N220AU (msn 46501) on November 27, 1991. The venerable jetliner has a new look livery (above).
Orbis International (New York) is an international non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to saving sight worldwide according to Wikipedia. Orbis programs focus on the prevention of blindness and the treatment of blinding eye diseases in developing countries. Since 1982, ORBIS capacity-building programs have enhanced the skills of 325,000 eye care personnel and provided medical and optical treatment to more than 23.3 million people in 92 countries.
The charity issued this statement:
The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) is visiting Jinan for the second time to conduct an intensive and comprehensive training and skills exchange program aimed at strengthening ophthalmic services in Shandong Province. Alongside its longtime sponsor, Alcon, the global leader in eye care, the Orbis program will focus on providing intense training in the areas of cataract, glaucoma, medical and surgical retina.
China accounts for about 18 percent of the world’s blind and out of the estimated 1 million children suffering from blindness in Asia, approximately 400,000 live in China. To address the growing need for pediatric eye care in the country and in support of the long-term Orbis pediatric project in the region, the FEH program will also offer intense subspecialty training in pediatric strabismus.
The Jinan program marks the 39th visit of the Flying Eye Hospital in China and this program will continue to help raise public attention on the eye care conditions and challenges faced in the country. The needs of the eye care communities and the challenges they face vary across provinces, but at the national level, the major causes of blindness reflect global trends and include: cataract, glaucoma and corneal disease.
“Orbis has had a long history of working in China and our training programs have helped improve the quality of ophthalmic services and raise awareness around eye care conditions throughout the country,” said Dr. Ahmed Gomaa, the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Medical Director. “Orbis is grateful for the generous support of our longtime sponsor Alcon, and we look forward to working together to eliminate avoidable blindness and deliver the highest standards of training.”
In partnership with the Shandong Red Cross Eye Hospital and Shandong Medical College, the program will provide Chinese eye care professionals including optometrists, nurses, anesthesiologists and biomedical engineers with continued medical education through workshop, lectures and hands-on training. In addition to ophthalmologists, the program will also provide practical and clinical training to residents who receive little hands-on training as part of their standard residency curriculum.
“Alcon’s partnership with Orbis of more than three decades is grounded in our shared vision of providing access to quality eye care around the world,” said Bettina Maunz, President of the Alcon Foundation. “The Jinan program gives us the opportunity to partner with Orbis to help deliver sustainable eye care solutions that can make a long-term impact and help prevent and treat blindness in China.”
As part of a global initiative to combat preventable and treatable blindness, and in support of Orbis’s skills exchange program approach, Alcon has been a longtime sponsor of the Flying Eye Hospital programs and donates medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplies. In addition, Alcon biomedical engineers volunteer their time on Orbis programs to provide technical assistance by working side-by-side with local technicians and share their skills on managing and maintaining the much needed ophthalmic equipment.
Orbis prevents and treats blindness through hands-on training, public health education, improved access to quality eye care, advocacy and partnerships with local health care organizations. By building long-term capabilities, Orbis helps its partner institutions take action to reach a state where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible, and sustainable.