Flying Eye Hospital Celebrates 20 Years of Eye Care in Ethiopia this World Sight Day

NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2018 – The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital—the world’s only U.S.-accredited teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft—has returned to Addis Ababa to conduct a three-week training project from October 1 – 19, 2018, invited by the Federal Ministry of Health and in partnership with the Ophthalmological Society of Ethiopia (OSE). Hosted by the Department of Ophthalmology, Addis Ababa University at Menelik II Referral Hospital (Menelik), the Flying Eye Hospital project is also an opportunity to celebrate 20 years of eye health development and partnership in Ethiopia and World Sight Day.

Orbis set up its very first program office in Addis Ababa 20 years ago in 1998, and joined local partners in:

– Introducing modern cataract surgical techniques
– Training the first generation of eye sub-specialists
– Introducing pediatric eye care by opening the first three child-friendly centers at Menelik Hospital, and in the cities of Hawassa and Gonda
– Developing and launching the Eye Bank of Ethiopia, and leading the consortium for a trachoma elimination project
– Initiating SAFE (Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement) strategy and rural eye care infrastructure.

“Over the last two decades, through extensive collaboration and coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health, OSE and our incredible network of local and international partners, we have contributed to building a vastly improved eye health system across the country, saving the sight of millions of Ethiopian people,” said Bob Ranck, President and CEO of Orbis International.

The project is focusing on training local eye care teams in adult and pediatric surgery techniques needed to meet the remaining needs of the over 1.6 million Ethiopians living with blindness, and another 3.8 million living with low vision (according to the first national blindness, low vision and trachoma survey in 2006). The Global Trachoma Mapping Project (2013) estimated that Ethiopia is home to 37.5% of the world’s trachoma cases—a painful, contagious disease where the eyelashes turn inward and can lead to permanent blindness.

Over the course of the three-week project, Orbis aims to train 335 eye care professionals (including doctors, nurses, biomedical engineers, anesthesiologists and allied health professionals), screen and examine 250 patients, and perform surgery on 122 people.

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