Flying without Wings: India Virtual Flying Eye Hospital a Huge Success

Even a global pandemic can't stop the Orbis team delivering world class ophthalmic training! Our Virtual Flying Eye Hospital training project in India recently concluded, and just like its predecessors, it was a resounding success!

The Flying Eye Hospital was due to be in India right now to help celebrate our 20th anniversary of sight saving work in the country. It would have been the first time the plane has touched down in India since our 2nd generation DC-10 landed in Kolkata in 2013 - but the coronavirus had other plans.

Our team was not to be deterred, working round the clock to pivot from in-person training to online - ensuring we could still deliver world class training to our partners. In total, 168 local health workers enrolled in online courses from 15 partner institutions in 10 districts of India.

The courses were on Medical Retina, Ophthalmic Nursing, Biomedical Engineering and included an innovative Catarct Wet Lab where participants were sent artificial eyes to practice on in their local hospital. The surgery was recorded and our team of experts were able to review and grade the surgery. How amazing is that?

Slideshow: Online training with a COVID compliant virtual wet lab

The sessions were delivered by 8 of our wonderful Volunteer Faculty and 5 of our amazing Flying Eye Hospital staff, heralding from a total of 10 different countries - a truly global effort.

Our teams were thrilled to work alongside our longstanding partners, including teams from Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi, where we helped develop the first child eye care center in India in 2004.

A big thank you to Boeing

A big thank you must go to Boeing who was the Exclusive Title Sponsor for the training project. A dedicated Global Partner of ours since 2019, Boeing began working with us through our “See the Future” initiative, designed to provide critically important training to eye health professionals around the world.

In total 168 local health workers enrolled in online courses from 15 partner institutions in 10 districts of India.

Orbis’s commitment to treating preventable blindness is inspiring. Through such initiatives in health, in addition to others in skilling and education, The Boeing Company has positively impacted more than 300,000 lives. We're excited that Orbis is bringing their mission to mentor, train, and inspire eye care professionals to bring long-term sustainable eye care to local communities in India now. It is our honor to support them in their work to improve this human condition worldwide.

Salil Gupte

President, Boeing India

Veteran Volunteer Faculty Dr. Javed Farooqui was one of the instructors during the 8-week remote learning and wet lab training program. Formerly a staff ophthalmologist on the Flying Eye Hospital for 2 years, Dr. Farooqui understands the importance of simulation and virtual training.

"A better-trained surgeon can give more predictable and consistent results. While at Orbis, I met, interacted and worked with trainers and trainees from all over the world, and the common theme for trainees everywhere was the need to improve their clinical knowledge and surgical skill. I feel that Orbis has integrated simulation training in its teaching curriculum will surely help standardize training all over the world."

With doctors like Javed Farooqui leading the wet-lab sessions, we know the local doctors will get the training they need so that patients get the eye care they deserve.

The DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital last time it was in India in 2013

A big thank you to our project sponsors, medical volunteers, and supporters like you - for helping get this project off the ground. Thanks to your support and the commitment of our fabulous Flying Eye Hospital team we've been able to deliver virtual projects in Bolivia, Cameroon, Chile, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Peru and Zambia in 2020 despite COVID restrictions - an amazing achievement.

We know that critical training for eye health professionals can't stop, even during a global pandemic. We thank all of you for your commitment to saving sight in 2020.

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