The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital recently landed again in the Philippines to train local doctors in modern eye surgery and save patients from blindness caused by cataracts, glaucoma and other eye problems.
In cooperation with long time global sponsor FedEx, the FEH conducted a two-week intensive program in Pampanga aimed at strengthening skills and subspecialty training of ophthalmologists throughout the Central Luzon region.
In conjunction with Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital and with the support of the Central Luzon Society of Ophthalmology, the program hopes to strengthen delivery of eye care services by improving the skills and knowledge of the local ophthalmic community in cataract pediatric ophthalmology, orbits and oculoplastics, adult glaucoma and medical retina.
“Orbis has been working for many years to improve the quality of ophthalmic services in the Philippines through a combination of different training programs. We are excited to continue working together to eliminate avoidable blindness and deliver the highest standards of training,” said Dr. Ahmed Gomaa, FEH medical director.
The FEH’s arrival in the country is indeed timely. The World Health Organization said roughly 90 percent of people suffering from visual impairments live in developing countries like the Philippines. But up to 80 percent of these patients can be cured if they receive proper medical treatment.
Eye care is a critical health issue here as an estimated 3.9 million people suffer from visual impairment, out of which approximately 600,000 are blind. The main causes for this are the high cost of healthcare in urban areas and the lack of trained eye health specialists in rural areas. All that will hopefully change with the FEH’s help.
“As the global sponsor for more than 30 years, FedEx continues to support the Orbis mission to save sight worldwide,” said Rhicke Jennings, managing director, FedEx Express Philippines and Indonesia.
“Supporting programs that address the social needs of local communities is a vital component of the FedEx long-term commitment to the Philippines. This year’s Pampanga visit gave us the opportunity to support Orbis in its goal of eliminating avoidable blindness in the country,” he added.
This is not the first time the FEH has landed in the country. Along with the Pampanga stop, 13 FEH programs have been conducted since 1982 in Cebu—1982, 1985, 1992, 1999; Subic—2003; Pampanga—2004 (Angeles City), 2014 (Mabalacat); Davao— 1991, 2014; Manila—1982, 1989, 2010; and Iloilo—2012.
Including the just-concluded Davao program, Orbis has trained over 1,000 eye care professionals and provided treatment to over 1,000 blind and visually impaired persons in the Philippines.
Globally, the FEH has visited 78 countries, trained over 92,000 doctors and 233,000 nurses, and treated 23.3 million adults and children.