ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital Returns to Indonesia to Address Leading Causes of Treatable and Preventable Blindness
Surabaya, Indonesia, March 13, 2012 – Today, at the invitation of the Indonesian Ophthalmology Association, hosted by the RSUD Dr. Soetomo Teaching Hospital and through the generous sponsorship of Alcon, the global leader in eye care, ORBIS International landed its flagship Flying Eye Hospital in Surabaya, Indonesia, to host an intensive medical program focused on developing local eye care services. The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital is a converted DC-10 aircraft and the world’s only ophthalmic surgical and training hospital with wings. ORBIS will conduct a three-week medical program to increase the clinical and surgical abilities of local eye care providers in the Eastern Java Region of Indonesia.
Celebrating 30 years of ORBIS sight saving worldwide, this visit will be the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital’s fourth program in Indonesia since 1982. As a follow up to the 2010 four-week ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital program in Indonesia that has also been complemented by five hospital-based programs over the past two years, this year’s program reinforces the dedicated partnership between ORBIS and the Indonesian ophthalmic community focused on building a lasting infrastructure for quality eye care in Indonesia.
For three weeks in Surabaya, in partnership with the RSUD Dr. Soetomo Teaching Hospital at Airlangga University, the ORBIS medical team will conduct an intensive skills exchange program for eye care professionals and deliver sight-saving surgeries to pre-screened patients who are visually impaired. The three-week program in Surabaya will provide Indonesian eye care professionals with continued medical education and training in multi-subspecialties to address the country’s eye health needs.
ORBIS and the Flying Eye Hospital feel privileged to be invited to return to Indonesia, and in particular, the Eastern Java region,” said Rosalind A. Stevens, MD, MPH, Clinical Advisor, ORBIS International. “In the past two years we have continued to strengthen the capacity of our local partners in East Java through hospital-based programs and look forward to bolstering the training through this Flying Eye Hospital program. Together with Alcon and our local partners, we are working to raise awareness of the importance of quality eye care while addressing the local leading and emerging causes of blindness, including cataract, corneal, retinal and pediatric eye diseases.”
As part of a global initiative to combat preventable and treatable blindness, and in support of ORBIS’s skills exchange program approach, Alcon sponsors the Flying Eye Hospital program and donates medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplies. In addition, Alcon biomedical engineers will volunteer their time to provide technical assistance by working side-by-side with Indonesian medical technicians to share their skills on managing and maintaining the much needed ophthalmic equipment.
As a corporate sponsor since the Flying Eye Hospital’s first medical program three decades ago, Alcon continues to support ORBIS’s sight-saving programs around the world, to contribute to further establishing sustainable eye care programs in developing countries,” said Roy Acosta, VP, Area President Asia. “This year’s program in Surabaya gives Alcon the opportunity to partner with ORBIS to help deliver long-term solutions to prevent and treat blindness in the East Java region.”
Blindness in Indonesia
Home to 246 million people, the Ministry of Health in Indonesia estimates that over 2.2 million people suffer from blindness, and an additional 11.8 million struggle with visual impairment. Living in urban, metropolitan environments, provides Indonesians the opportunity to receive first rate ophthalmic expertise and care, as well as advanced private care to those who can afford it. However, for those living in poverty-stricken provincial communities, access to healthcare, including ophthalmic care, is exceedingly difficult.
Facts on the Prevention of Blindness Worldwide:
On a global scale, 285 million people are visually impaired, of which 80 percent can be prevented or treated. Approximately 90 percent of all visually impaired people live in developing countries. The areas of significant global prevention progress include:
Further development of eye health care services, which has led to increased availability and affordability;
Increased commitment to prevention and cure from national leaders, medical professionals and private and corporate partners;
Higher awareness and use of eye health care services by patients and the general population; and
Implementation of effective eye health strategies to eliminate infectious causes of vision loss.
ORBIS and Alcon – Leading the Way to a World Without Blindness
Alcon, the global leader in eye care, provides innovative products that enhance quality of life by helping people worldwide see better. Alcon has partnered with ORBIS for more than 30 years as a global sponsor providing support for the Flying Eye Hospital and the India Childhood Blindness Initiative. Alcon provides grants as well as medical gifts in kind such as state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplies to support ORBIS medical programs. For more information about Alcon, please visit www.alcon.com.
About ORBIS International
ORBIS International is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. ORBIS prevents and treats blindness through hands-on training, public health education, improved access to quality eye care, advocacy and partnerships with local health care organizations in an effort to eliminate avoidable blindness. By building their long-term capabilities, ORBIS helps its partner institutions take action to reach a state where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible, and sustainable. To learn more about ORBIS, please visit www.ORBIS.org .