Orbis' new Flying Eye Hospital arrives in Britain
Orbis' new 'third generation' Flying Eye Hospital, a unique aircraft that plays a vital role in the fight against avoidable blindness, landed in the UK today for the first time in history.
Orbis, one of the world’s leading eye charities has reached a major milestone in patient care, delivering over 10 million treatments in a single year, its highest figure in five years.
The Flying Eye Hospital stands at the cutting edge of medical innovation. To the eye, it appears as a typical passenger plane; however on the inside there is a state of the art operating theatre, with audio-visual equipment that transmits live operations to trainees in a 46 seat classroom at the front of the plane. The aircraft also features pre and post-op spaces and a laser eye suite.
The Flying Eye Hospital enables a global volunteer team of the world’s most highly regarded ophthalmic experts to train local medical professionals, leaving a lasting impact for future generations.
HRH The Countess of Wessex, Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) said: “Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital is a unique and inspiring instrument in the fight against avoidable blindness. I was able to witness the plane in action in Kolkata in 2013 – I observed everything from the most simple cataract surgery using basic cost effective techniques, to a complex prosthetic surgery restoring sight to man who had been blind for fourteen years. These medical interventions, however small, act as a platform to lift communities and countries out of poverty; if you can see you can work, if you can see you can learn."
Whilst the plane is in the UK, Orbis will be launching Operation Sight, an extensive new campaign for 2017 that will highlight the stark reality that every minute counts when treating blindness.
In 2017, the plane will be undertaking treatment and training programmes in Vietnam, Cameroon and Bangladesh. In the past, the plane has flown to: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, Zambia, Cameroon, Peru, Mongolia and Indonesia among others.
The UK event, taking place between the 11thth and 17th of March, will celebrate the charity’s breakthrough work in the fight against avoidable blindness. Blindness takes away so much more than vision. In many countries across the world, a lack of sight can impede your ability to gain an education, prevent you from finding employment and can lead families into a life of poverty.