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24 September 2013 11:33 am

HRH The Countess of Wessex joins the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital in Doha World’s leading Flying Eye Hospital lands in Qatar to highlight sight-saving work for children in poor communities

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Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex from the United Kingdom, travelled to Doha this week onboard the ORBIS_Flying_Eye_Hospital to meet local medical specialists and ambassadors in Qatar. This builds on the success of last year’s inaugural visit of the unique training facility housed within a DC-10 airplane. Having most recently seen the sight-saving work of the charity in Kolkata, HRH is visiting Doha to engage with Qatar’s philanthropic community in support of ORBIS’s initiatives providing eye care to children in low income areas like rural India, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Zambia. Together with ORBIS, a press roundtable was held at the Oryx Rotana to share views on childhood_blindness and highlight the ORBIS message that education is much harder to access if a child has sight problems. Members of the ORBIS team explained that if sight problems aren’t addressed early on in life, they can become irreversible. HRH highlighted how life with no access to education or employment can mean a loss of independence, so by restoring sight ORBIS can also restore opportunity. “According to the World Health Organisation, there are approximately 1.5 million blind children in the world, of whom approximately one million live in Asia and approximately 300 000 in Africa. Each year, an estimated half a million more children become blind, up to 60 percent of whom die in childhood.” said Dr. Robert Walters, ORBIS EMEA Chairman. “Globally, eye care for the delicate eyes of children is scarce. It takes specialist equipment, training and infrastructure and this is where ORBIS comes in; introducing specialist training and providing the necessary equipment and infrastructure to treat children in poor communities”, he said. In 2012, ORBIS and its partners provided some 4,500,000 treatments, more than 55,545 surgeries and trained over 20,830 doctors, nurses and others. International sight-saving charity ORBIS trains eye care teams in developing countries so they can prevent blindness in their communities. - ILQ News -