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The world-renowned US-based Flying Eye Hospital has found the heart of the Philippines and landed in Iloilo to give the gift of sight to Ilonggos during its medical mission at the Iloilo Airport in Sta. Barbara-Cabatuan Feb. 21-March 2.

The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital is a “hospital with wings” that brings together dedicated eye care professionals and aviators to give the gift of sight to developing countries around the world.

Now on its 30th year, ORBIS circles the globe to train eye care professionals and treat underserved patients in developing countries.

ORBIS destinations for 2012 kicks off in Iloilo.

Onboard the refurbished DC-10 jet aircraft, local doctors, nurses and technicians work alongside ORBIS’s international medical team to exchange knowledge and improve skills.

The globe-trotting mobile teaching hospital is a unique tool in the fight against preventable blindness in developing countries.

In the 48-seat classroom at the front of the plane, doctors gather for lectures, discussions and live broadcasts of surgical procedures being performed nearby in the flying hospital operating room.

If needed, surgeries can also be broadcast to an additional classroom outside the aircraft, for instance, at a nearby hospital.

Large numbers of trainees observe the surgeries and ask questions of the operating surgeons via a two-way audio-visual system.

Videos and follow-up are part of training. 

Upon the flying hospital’s departure, videos of the surgical demonstrations are left with local institutions to be used in further training.

As part of ORBIS’s commitment to ongoing quality care, an ORBIS ophthalmologist returns to the host country within two months of each program to examine patients and review cases with the local doctors.

Since its first program in 1982, ORBIS has traveled to more than 89 countries and saved the sight of millions of people.

By training local doctors and eye care workers, who in turn teach their colleagues, ORBIS is strengthening the capabilities of local health care communities in blindness prevention and treatment. (www.orbis.org)