Flying eye hospital heads to China

October 1, 2008

ORBIS International's Flying Eye Hospital has completed an intensive two-week training programme for approximately 40 ophthalmology residents in Harbin, China.

ORBIS International’s Flying Eye Hospital has completed an intensive two-week training programme for approximately 40 ophthalmology residents in Harbin, China. Approximately 18% of the world’s blind live in China; up to 80% of the country’s ophthalmologists work in urban hospitals, although up to 80% of the 5–6 million blind people live in rural regions.

Although ORBIS frequently conducts training programmes in developing countries around the world, this is the first time the Flying Eye Hospital has been used to train only ophthalmic residency physicians. ORBIS conducted the programme at the request of Heilongjiang Provincial Government, Heilongjiang Provincial Health Bureau, and the Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University.

The course, which focused on the treatment and management of paediatric strabismus, glaucoma and cataract (China’s leading cause of blindness), made use of hands-on surgical training, wet labs, live surgical demonstrations, surgical simulator sessions, lectures and workshops for training. ORBIS also conducted clinics on retinal disease and neuro-ophthalmology.

Approximately half of the medical equipment in China does not function correctly. In conjunction with the residents’ training course, ORBIS also repaired critical equipment and provided hands-on training for nine biomedical engineers and technicians, to combat the lack of functioning equipment and continuing education available in this region.

The ORBIS programme in Harbin was sponsored by Alcon, ORBIS’s Alliance for Sight partner.