ORBIS and FedEx Conduct Sight-Saving Flying Eye Hospital Program in the Philippines
HONG KONG, February 21, 2012 – At the invitation of the Western Visayas Local Committee on Sight Preservation and with the generous sponsorship of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), ORBIS International landed its flagship Flying Eye Hospital – a converted DC-10 aircraft and the world’s only ophthalmic surgical and training hospital with wings – in Iloilo, Philippines. ORBIS will conduct a three-week medical program to increase the clinical and surgical abilities of local eye care providers in the Western Visayas Region.
This will be the Flying Eye Hospital’s 11th program in the Philippines since 1982, celebrating 30 years of sight-saving work.
For two weeks in Iloilo, in partnership with the Western Visayas Medical Center, the ORBIS medical team will conduct an intensive skills exchange program for eye care professionals and deliver sight-saving surgeries to pre-screened patients suffering from visual impairment. On the third week, ORBIS will complement and reinforce this training by extending its medical program to include a Hospital-Based Program in Bacolod, in partnership with the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital.
“ORBIS is excited to conduct its first Flying Eye Hospital program of 2012 in the Western Visayas Region of the Philippines,” said David Johnson, Flying Eye Hospital director at ORBIS International. “With our 30-year history in the Philippines, we continue to build and strengthen the capacity of our local partners in this region. Together with FedEx and our local partners, we will address the leading and emerging causes of blindness, including cataract, diabetic retinopathy and pediatric eye disease, while we continue to raise awareness of avoidable blindness.”
As part of a global initiative to combat preventable and treatable blindness, and in support of ORBIS International’s skills exchange program approach, FedEx will award and sponsor a Fellowship to a promising ophthalmologist from the Philippines to study at a leading global eye institute. This initiative – The FedEx Fellows – began in 2006 and has since awarded fellowships to ophthalmologists from Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, India, Kenya, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The 2010 FedEx Fellow, Dr. Buenjim Mariano, from St. Luke’s Medical Center’s International Eye Institute in Manila, recently completed his one-year Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, United Kingdom.
“As the leading aviation sponsor for three decades, FedEx continues to support ORBIS’s sight-saving programs around the world, through our extensive global network and aviation expertise,” said Rhicke Jennings, FedEx Express managing director for the Philippines and Indonesia. “This year’s program in the Western Visayas Region gives FedEx another opportunity to help ORBIS deliver long-term and sustainable solutions to preventable blindness in the Philippine community.”
Blindness in the Philippines
Among the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, there are approximately 100 million people, of which more than 600,000 are blind. For those living in more urban, metropolitan environments, the Philippines provides first rate ophthalmic expertise and care, as well as advanced private care to those who can afford it. However, for those living in provincial communities, access to healthcare, including ophthalmic care, is poor and can be extremely difficult to access.
Facts on the Prevention of Blindness Worldwide:
On a global scale, 285 million people are visually impaired, of which 80 percent can be prevented or treated. Approximately 90 percent of all visually impaired people live in developing countries. The areas of significant global prevention progress include:
Further development of eye health care services, which has led to increased availability and affordability;
Increased commitment to prevention and cure from national leaders, medical professionals and private and corporate partners;
Higher awareness and use of eye health care services by patients and the general population; and
Implementation of effective eye health strategies to eliminate infectious causes of vision loss.
ORBIS and FedEx – Delivering Sight Worldwide
FedEx has been the leading aviation sponsor of ORBIS for 30 years, providing millions of dollars of support in cash and in-kind contributions. In 2011, FedEx renewed a USD$5.5 million, five-year commitment made to ORBIS in 2006, which includes the extension of the FedEx Fellows Program – an opportunity for local, talented doctors to receive the continuing medical education needed to address leading causes of avoidable blindness within their country and region. FedEx has taken its commitment to the next level with the donation of an MD-10 cargo aircraft to ORBIS to be converted into the third-generation, state-of-the-art Flying Eye Hospital. ORBIS benefits from the unparalleled FedEx global network and aviation expertise to help the Flying Eye Hospital take flight. FedEx pilots volunteer to fly the ORBIS DC-10 to many of its medical programs and train other volunteer pilots, FedEx mechanics provide maintenance support, and FedEx team members around the world volunteer as part of the ORBIS humanitarian team as interpreters, welcoming and escorting patients to and from their surgeries, and assisting with patient screenings. FedEx also provides complimentary transportation services to move critically needed medical supplies to ORBIS clinics and programs worldwide, makes the FedEx flight training simulator available to train volunteer pilots, and manages the cost and performance of the annual safety checks for ORBIS’s flagship Flying Eye Hospital.
About ORBIS International
ORBIS International is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. ORBIS prevents and treats blindness through hands-on training, public health education, improved access to quality eye care, and partnerships with local health care organizations in an effort to eliminate avoidable blindness. By building their long-term capabilities, ORBIS helps its partner institutions take action to reach a state where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible, and sustainable. To learn more about ORBIS, please visit www.ORBIS.org.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of US$41 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.