Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex visited ORBIS’s sight-saving project work in Kolkata, India on September 21, 2013.
As Patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and supporter of sight-saving charity ORBIS, HRH visited the unique ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital at Kolkata Airport to witness the ophthalmic training program taking place onboard. Her Royal Highness is also to visit a partner hospital to see transformational surgery and meet patients who have had their sight restored.
The ORBIS Flying Eye hospital visited Kolkata for the fourth time to conduct an intensive and comprehensive training and skills exchange program aimed at strengthening ophthalmic services in Eastern and Northeast India. Alongside its longtime sponsors, Alcon and FedEx, the ORBIS program is focused on improving the delivery of children’s eye services in the region. The program and HRH’s visit helped raise public attention on the eye care conditions and challenges faced in India.
HRH highlighted how life with no access to education or employment can mean a loss of independence, so by restoring sight ORBIS can also restore opportunity.
“According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 1.5 million blind children in the world, of whom approximately one million live in Asia and approximately 300 000 in Africa. Each year, an estimated half a million more children become blind, up to 60 percent of who die in childhood.” said Dr Robert Walters, ORBIS EMEA Chairman.
“Globally, eye care for the delicate eyes of children is scarce. It takes specialist equipment, training and infrastructure, and this is where ORBIS comes in; introducing specialist training and providing the necessary equipment and infrastructure to treat children where the need is great”, he said.
In 2012, ORBIS and its partners provided over 4,500,000 treatments, more than 55,545 surgeries and trained over 20,830 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
International sight-saving charity ORBIS trains eye care teams in developing countries so they can prevent blindness in their communities.
ORBIS provides the tools, training and technology necessary for hospitals in developing countries to find workable and lasting solutions to save sight.
By empowering its partner institutions to take action, ORBIS helps them to reach the point where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible and sustainable, to their own communities.”
To learn more about ORBIS, please visit www.orbis.org