QUY NHON and BINH DINH, Vietnam, May 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbis's Flying Eye Hospital, the world's only accredited ophthalmic training hospital aboard an MD-10 aircraft, lands at its second Vietnam location this month, Quy Nhon City in the province Binh Dinh. Medical staff and volunteers will deliver a two-week ophthalmic training program from May 29 – June 9, 2017.
"After completing the Flying Eye Hospital program successfully in the city of Can Tho one week ago, the Orbis team is pleased to conduct another ophthalmic training program here in Binh Dinh to support our efforts in the region," said Dr. Jonathan Lord, Global Medical Director, Orbis International. "By working with the Binh Dinh Eye Hospital and Binh Dinh General Hospital, we aim to strengthen the skills and knowledge of their ophthalmologists, nurses and anesthesiologists in subspecialty surgical procedures, especially in pediatric ophthalmology and safe anesthesia practices."
As home to more than six million people, Binh Dinh province is a transportation hub that connects five provinces in the South-Central Coast and Central Highlands regions of Vietnam. The territory is not only one of the most underserved areas in the country, but the prevalence of blindness is also the highest1. Through the Flying Eye Hospital program, Orbis medical staff and volunteers will enhance the capacity of our local partner hospitals, Binh Dinh Eye Hospital (BDEH) and Binh Dinh General Hospital (BDGH), so that they can deliver pediatric high-quality eye care services for children and adults in the South-Central Coast and Highlands regions of Vietnam.
The two-week program will focus on four subspecialties: adult glaucoma, cataract, medical retina and strabismus, with additional training on detecting and managing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). By leveraging the high-profile Flying Eye Hospital, the program aims to raise public awareness on the prevention and early detection of some of the most common causes of childhood blindness in the region.
A Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) survey in 2015 estimated that more than 100,000 people are blind in the South-Central Coast and Highlands regions, mainly due to cataract (74 percent). Other studies showed that the childhood blindness rate is high in Binh Dinh and the South-Central Coastal region, where approximately 75,000 children suffer from various eye problems. ROP has recently become another major cause of preventable blindness among babies. Premature infants who weigh less than 1,800 grams and/or are born before 34 weeks of pregnancy are at risk of permanent blindness if they do not receive timely treatment for ROP, which can occur when the retina has not had sufficient time to develop.
Sponsored by the Alcon Foundation, the program will provide basic-to-intermediate level hands-on training to enhance the surgical skills and knowledge of doctors at BDEH, and will provide continuing medical education tailored for local nurses, anesthesiologists, biomedical engineers and technicians through lectures, case discussions, observation, symposium and hands-on training.
Amongst the volunteers, two are Alcon biomedical engineers who will donate their time and expertise to support the hands-on training for local engineers at BDEH, as well as provide regular maintenance of the Alcon equipment on board the Flying Eye Hospital.
"Alcon's partnership of more than three decades with Orbis is grounded in our shared vision of providing access to quality eye care around the world," said Mr. Nguyen Minh Phuc, Chief Representative of Alcon Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Vietnam.
Orbis continues to carry out the goals for the region laid out in the five-year project, "Pediatric Eye Care Service at Binh Dinh Hospital", established in 2015. There is now a trained team that focuses on pediatric care, and a referral network has been built in Binh Dinh and neighboring provinces to increase the access of the services for children.
Orbis is a leading global non-governmental organization that has been a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of blindness for over 30 years. Orbis transforms lives by delivering the skills, resources and knowledge needed to deliver accessible quality eye care. Working in collaboration with local partners including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthens healthcare infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health on public health agendas. Orbis operates the world's only Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft. To learn more, please visit orbis.org.
About Alcon Foundation
For more than 50 years, Alcon has been partnering with non-profit organizations that make a difference in advancing eye health, knowledge transfer, research and education, as well as enhancing access to quality eye care around the world. The Alcon Foundation awards grants to qualified, U.S.-based tax-exempt public 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that provide high-quality programs, trainings and community services with well-defined goals to enhance sight and enhance the lives of people who otherwise would not have access to proper eye care. For more information, visit www.alcon.com. Alcon is on Facebook. Like us at http://www.facebook.com/AlconEyeCare
Communications Manager, Orbis
Communications Manager, Flying Eye Hospital, Orbis
1 Vietnam Ministry of Health, 2015, RAAB Survey
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