Illuminating millions in the fight against avoidable blindness

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital trains local doctors and medical teams worldwide
Illuminating millions in the fight against avoidable blindness

In the developed world, many of us are fortunate enough to have comprehensive health insurance, thanks to our government or employers, and healthcare is something we take for granted. Unfortunately, a large number of people don’t have this privilege and suffer from easily preventable diseases due to lack of access to basic healthcare.

Globally, there are 338 million people who are blind or are living with moderate to severe visual impairment. Shockingly, up to 77 percent of these cases are entirely preventable or treatable.

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Since 1982, the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital has been fighting against avoidable blindness with a unique concept. It uses a former cargo MD-10 aircraft, generously donated by FedEx, which has been retrofitted into the world’s only mobile ophthalmic teaching hospital. The multi-faceted plane includes a state-of-the-art teaching facility complete with an operating room, classroom, and recovery room.

The dedicated team of eye care specialists at the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital travel around the globe to developing countries and train local doctors and medical teams as well as perform essential surgeries while on the tarmac. More than 400 volunteer medical experts, including doctors and nurses, make up the Orbis International team, which carries out these life-changing treatments and training free of charge, and has helped millions of people across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

By providing volunteer pilots, aircraft parts, maintenance, and pilot training, FedEx plays a vital role in helping Orbis International achieve its noble mission. FedEx engages in projects like the FedEx Cares 50 by 50 campaign, which aims to positively impact 50 million people worldwide by 2023.

Taarek Hinedi – VP at FedEx Express Middle East and Africa operations explains the extent of the deep routed relationship between the two institutions, “FedEx has supported Orbis for over-three-decades to deliver the gift of sight to the world. In addition to sponsoring the Flying Eye Hospital, FedEx pilots volunteer their time to navigate the plane around the world on Orbis projects. We’re delighted to be teaming up with Orbis in their efforts to prevent avoidable blindness and improve the capacity and delivery of eye care, which is a priority health issue particularly in underserved communities,”. 

Compassionate supporters, including individuals, local governments, global organizations, philanthropists, or the general public, can all get involved by creating awareness. Every bit helps in the global fight to end avoidable blindness.

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