The worlds only flying hospital and teaching facility
ORBIS DC-10, completed its 13th programme in India on
November 26 in Chennai and Salem. Orbis is a non-profit
organisation dedicated to saving sight and eliminating
avoidable blindness worldwide.
by Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), the three-week
skill-enhancing programme focused on the care and management
of childrens eye diseases. It was carried out by
the Orbis team of doctors, nurses, anesthetists, and biomedical
engineers from 12 countries in partnership with the local
eye hospitals the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology
(RIO), Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, and the TMS Eye
Hospital in Salem.
date, RMHC has awarded more than $ 340 million in grants
worldwide, including a $1.3 million dollar grant to Orbis
to improve the quality and availability of eye care for
children in India, Peru and other countries.
began addressing blindness prevention in India in 1988
with the launch of the DC-10 plane programme. Since then,
it has conducted numerous training programmes, including
12 aircraft-based and over 17 hospital-based training
programmes, in a variety of surgical interventions. It
has also provided training to other essential eye care
workers. In 1999, the organisation opened a liaison office
in New Delhi.
time, more than 165 Indian doctors observed and assisted
surgeries by eye surgeons from India, Turkey, Canada,
UK and US on board the ORBIS DC-10, as well as at the
partnering hospitals. Participants also attended lectures
and workshops on childhood blindness. They practiced corneal
transplants and cataract removals on animal eyes in a
specially set up wet laboratory.
ophthalmologists in India, myself included, stand to benefit
from training opportunities that will enhance as well
as refresh our skills to treat and manage the delicate
eyes of a child, says Dr Namitha Bhuvaneswari, paediatric
ophthalmologist and assistant professor of ophthalmology
at RIO. Bhuvaneswari was one of the doctors to benefit
from hands-on guidance from the Orbis team.
nurses received intensive hands-on training from the Orbis
nursing staff, working in the DC-10s and local hospitals'
operating rooms, sub-sterile rooms and recovery rooms.
Another 60 nurses benefited from daily lectures and seminars
on pre- and post-operative care of paediatric and general
ORBIS supports initiatives to set up child friendly paediatric
eye-care centres in Delhi and rural Rajasthan and Madhya
Pradesh, bringing eye care services to the doorsteps of
the poorest communities and villages.