Building capacity for eye care in Can Tho with the Flying Eye Hospital

May 09, 2023 | 19:00
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The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on a plane, landed in Can Tho on May 8 and will remain there for three weeks to provide hands-on training to 52 eye care professionals in the region.
Orbis Flying Eye Hospital
The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

It is currently stationed at Can Tho International Airport and collaborates with two partner hospitals, Can Tho Maxillo Dental and Eye Hospital and Can Tho Children Hospital.

Clinical staff and volunteer medical experts from Orbis, a global non-governmental organisation focus on prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness, set to provide training and skill-building to ophthalmologists, nurses, biomedical engineers, and anaesthesiologists to treat the causes of blindness and visual impairment in their own communities.

The initiative will focus on treating children and adults in Vietnam with issues such as paediatric cataracts, oculoplastics, and strabismus as well as adult glaucoma, oculoplastics, and medical retina.

The first week of the project is dedicated to simulation training, which allows participants to grow their confidence in a new training environment before moving on to surgical training in the last two weeks.

During surgical training, participants will get hands-on, real-life experience with world-class professionals at their sides. It also includes a customise virtual project for learning courses before the plane arrives in Vietnam on Cybersight, Orbis’s telemedicine platform.

Since 1996, through training programmes at the Central Eye Hospital, Orbis has established a partnership with the ophthalmology sector in Vietnam and collaborated to implement capacity-building programmes for eye healthcare professionals nationwide.

In addition to organising 12 flying hospital programmes, Orbis has supported the establishment of retinopathy of prematurity screening and treatment centres, paediatric eye care centres, hospitals, refractive units, practice rooms, and eye banks.

To date, Orbis Vietnam has provided visual screening and examination for nearly 5.3 million people, medical treatment and eyeglasses for over 1 million people, performed over 140,000 surgeries, and conducted capacity-building training for nearly 33,000 ophthalmology professionals.

Building capacity for eye care in Can Tho with the Flying Eye Hospital
Orbis Vietnam has provided visual screening and examination, medical treatment and eyeglasses to millions of Vietnamese patients and training to thousands of healthcare professionals since 1996

Orbis is supported by FedEx, the global express transportation company that has been present in Vietnam since 1994.

FedEx donated the MD-10 aircraft, which currently serves as the third-generation Orbis flying hospital. Since 1993, FedEx has contributed over $22 million US and in-kind support to Orbis.

In 2021, FedEx announced its renewed commitment to the Orbis mission of preserving and restoring eyesight for the community with a donation of $3.5 million to support the financial, logistical, and operational aspects of Orbis and the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital until 2026.

In addition to providing aircraft parts, maintenance operations, and pilot training for the flying hospital initiative, the MD-10 aircraft sponsored by FedEx is also piloted by FedEx volunteer pilots.

The support for the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital initiative in Vietnam is part of FedEx's "50 Days of Caring" initiative, targeting 50 million people worldwide on the occasion of the company's 50th anniversary this year.

Furthermore, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam and Can Tho International Airport provide a safe landing point and technical services to enable the operation of the Orbis Flying Hospital for three weeks in Can Tho.

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