The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital – a training eye hospital housed within a DC-10 aircraft – has arrived in Doha for the first time, as the sight saving organization offers visitors the unique experience of touring the world’s only ‘hospital with wings’.
In partnership with the Doha International Airport (DIA), ORBIS will be hosting four days of tours with visitors to the aircraft, including Mr Patrick Muller - Executive Vice President of DIA, staff from Qatar Airways, the US, UK and South African Ambassadors, philanthropic organisations Shaffalah, Al Noor Institute and Reach Out to Asia, as well as students, parents and staff from long-time ORBIS supporter ACS International School (Doha).
Visitors from the medical and corporate community will also tour the plane.
ORBIS hopes these tours will lay the foundation for strong, long-lasting partnerships in Qatar.
“We want to capture the attention of Qatar, and raise awareness of the 39 million people in the world who are blind, as 80% of them could see again with the right eye care,” said Dr. Robert Walters, ORBIS Chairman.
“With 30 years of experience behind us, we are dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Our Flying Eye Hospital is a unique tool that provides teaching and training to eye care professional so they can take better care of their own communities in their own way. This skills transfer and knowledge is taught by our volunteer surgeons, nurses and biomedical engineers through specific teaching programmes, both on the aircraft and through hospital based long term partnership programmes”, he said.
In future, ORBIS plans to explore potential youth development schemes in Qatar, where students from the region can travel with the plane to experience the work the ORBIS medical team do first-hand with their host partners to save sight in developing countries.
When onboard the aircraft, Doha visitors will experience the operating room where volunteer surgeons and local doctors perform surgery that is simultaneously broadcast to trainees in the 48 seat classroom at the front of the aircraft. They will also see the recovery and sub-sterile areas, as well as the assessment area and audio-visual room, all of which contribute to thousands of doctors, nurses, anaesthetists and biomedical engineers receiving professional training and development, every year.
ORBIS’ crew of medical professionals will be onboard to answer questions about the aircraft as visitors tour the plane.
The next generation ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital will be set within an MD-10 aircraft donated by logistics company FedEx. ORBIS is currently seeking support to turn the cargo plane into a state-of-the-art teaching hospital, which is expected to be ready by mid-2013. The new aircraft will replace the current DC-10 and will continue to fly to developing countries, empowering eye care teams with the skills they need to save sight in their communities.
In 2011, ORBIS and its partners provided over 3,400,000 treatments, more than 75,000 surgeries, and trained over 15,000 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
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