Category Archives: Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

FedEx donates $3.5 million to Orbis in support of sight-saving ‘Flying Eye Hospital’

FedEx Corporation has announced its renewed commitment to Orbis International’s sight-saving mission with a US$3.5 million donation to help provide financial, logistics and operational support to the organization and its Flying Eye Hospital over the next five years.

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is a mobile teaching hospital that travels the world providing vision-saving eye surgeries and training to local eye care teams. Orbis’s cadre of more than 400 volunteer medical experts – including doctors, nurses, and others – carry out the trainings and procedures free of charge. FedEx donated the MD-10 aircraft and provides aircraft parts, maintenance, and pilot training at no cost to Orbis. The aircraft is flown by FedEx Express pilots who volunteer during their time off to navigate the plane around the world on Orbis missions. FedEx has supported Orbis for more than 33 years through more than US$27 million in donations and in-kind shipping.

Onboard a FedEx-donated MD-10 aircraft, Orbis’s iconic Flying Eye Hospital is the world’s only fully equipped ophthalmic teaching and training hospital. Orbis is a global organization that brings people together to fight avoidable blindness, restore vision, and help ensure no one loses their sight to preventable or treatable conditions. For nearly four decades, the Flying Eye Hospital has traveled the world delivering best-in-class training for eye care professionals in areas with the greatest need.

Last year, Orbis’s virtual Flying Eye Hospital projects had over 850 enrollments by participants from nine countries. Orbis expects to reach 20 countries through its virtual Flying Eye Hospital projects this year

These efforts are part of the FedEx Cares 50 by 50 campaign to positively impact 50 million people around the world by our 50th anniversary in 2023.

Former airline McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 continues to serve as a flying hospital

ORBIS FLYING EYE HOSPITAL

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.

Orbis logo

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.

About Orbis

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.