Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex visited India and Qatar in support of sight-saving charity ORBIS from Tuesday 17th to Tuesday the 24th of September 2013.
As Patron of Vision 2020 and Global Ambassador of IAPB, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex visited the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital in Kolkata, India where she witnessed patients undergoing sight-saving surgery. Onboard, HRH met patients and medical volunteers from around the world who share their skills with local eye care workers to improve ophthalmic services in local communities.
HRH even tried her hand at cataract surgery herself, using the EYES1 simulator on the Flying Eye Hospital.
The Countess also visited a partner hospital where she met both pre and post-operative patients and heard from local trainees.
HRH then attended a medical training symposium where she spoke of the work ORBIS is undertaking to alleviate the burden of avoidable blindness in low income areas such as rural India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Zambia.
In support of ORBIS’s initiatives providing eye care to children in developing countries HRH then flew on to Doha, Qatar where she met members of the local philanthropic community, including the Prime Minister of Qatar Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Together with ORBIS, a press roundtable was held at the Oryx Rotana to share views on childhood blindness and highlighted the ORBIS message that education is much harder to access if a child has sight problems. Members of the ORBIS team explained that if these issues aren’t addressed early on in life, they can become irreversible. 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.
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