The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital Returns to Panama For a Comprehensive Eye Care Skills Exchange Program

Jul 30, 2013, 14:00 ET from ORBIS International

FedEx Sponsored Program Aims to Provide Training to Local Panamanian Eye Care Professionals

PANAMA CITY, July 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ORBIS, alongside its longtime global sponsor FedEx, is excited to announce the return of the Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) to Panama City, for a two-week comprehensive skills exchange program aimed at advanced subspecialty training in cornea, glaucoma, oculoplastics, anterior segment and pediatric ophthalmology. In addition, the program will raise awareness of eye care related conditions in Panama and through a two-day special workshop given by Dr. Karl C. Golnik, to introduce the International Council of Ophthalmology Residency Education Training Program to the Panama National Ophthalmology Society.


By bringing together diverse members of the Panamanian eye care community from a wide range of institutions, the FEH program is designed not only to offer unique and effective skills exchange opportunities, but also continuing medical education to ophthalmologists, nurses, biomedical engineers and anesthesiologists.

"The return of the Flying Eye Hospital to Panama City represents a significant milestone in the history of ORBIS and the Flying Eye Hospital as it is where the first Flying Eye Hospital aircraft, a DC-8, landed to conduct its first-ever training program in 1982. We are thrilled to be in Panama 31 years later, as we work to continue our efforts to prevent and treat avoidable blindness in Central America," said Dr. Ahmed Gomaa, Medical Director of the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital. "With the generous support of FedEx, and working together with our Panamanian partners, we are proud to work together in enhancing the training opportunities to a wide range of eye health care professionals and promote the issue of eye health care in the country."

"Our eye care community looks forward to working with the ORBIS team on board of the Flying Eye Hospital and in our local hospitals to not only gain new skills, but also to advance existing abilities, while promoting the importance of quality eye care in Panama," said, Dr. Félix Emilio Ruiz Díaz, President of Panamanian Society of Ophthalmology.

As part of a global initiative to combat avoidable blindness, and in support of ORBIS's skills exchange approach, FedEx will continue its fellowship program and sponsor a fellowship for a promising ophthalmologist to study at a leading global eye institute. The FedEx Fellowship began in 2006 and has since awarded fellowships to ophthalmologists from Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Peru, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, China and Ethiopia.

"FedEx has sponsored the Flying Eye Hospital for over 30 years, supporting ORBIS in fighting avoidable blindness worldwide," said Jentzy Plaza, FedEx Manager of Operations. "We recognize the importance of investing in the training of local doctors and are proud to continue to support promising talent by offering the FedEx Fellowship."

ORBIS and FedEx Corp. – Delivering Sight Worldwide
FedEx Corp. has supported ORBIS for 30 years, providing millions of dollars of cash and in-kind contributions. In 2011, FedEx renewed a USD $5.375 million, five-year commitment made to ORBIS in 2006. It includes the extension of the FedEx Fellowship that provides an opportunity for talented local doctors to receive the continuing medical education needed to address leading causes of avoidable blindness within their countries.

ORBIS benefits from the unparalleled FedEx global network and its aviation expertise to help the Flying Eye Hospital remain aloft. FedEx Express pilots volunteer to fly the ORBIS DC-10 and train other volunteer pilots, FedEx Express mechanics provide maintenance support, and FedEx Express team members around the world volunteer 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 programs worldwide, makes the FedEx Express flight training simulator available to train volunteer pilots, and supports annual safety checks for ORBIS's flagship Flying Eye Hospital.

ORBIS 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. By building 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

About FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $44 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 300,000 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


  1. WHO (2010). Retrieved from
  2. WHO (2011). Factsheet N°282 Retrieved from

SOURCE ORBIS International