Four-week skills exchange programme to strengthen blindness prevention initiatives

June 22, 2010

Alcon Inc. is to sponsor a four-week ophthalmic skills exchange and surgical programme through ORBIS International?s signature Flying Eye Hospital.

Alcon Inc. is to sponsor a four-week ophthalmic skills exchange and surgical programme through ORBIS International’s signature Flying Eye Hospital.

ORBIS and its global team of volunteer eye care specialist, have begun an intensive four-week, two city programme in Indonesia aboard this one-of-a-kind DC10 surgical aircraft. The programme offers Indonesian eye care professionals of all disciplines multiple subspecialty training required to address the country’s dire eye heath needs.

The ORBIS programme aims to provide continuing medical education for Indonesian ophthalmologists; biomedical engineers, anaesthesiologists and nurses, while advocating for increased public awareness and key policy changes. In addition, Alcon engineers will volunteer their time to work side-by-side with Indonesian medical technicians on how to properly fix and maintain much needed ophthalmic equipment within their hospitals.

“We believe significant decreases in the number of preventably blind individuals requires the development of local, sustainable eye care services made available through well trained eye care professionals, ” said Sara Woodward, director of Corporate Giving, Alcon. “Through ORBIS' skills-exchange programmes and partnerships with medical facilities worldwide we are able to contribute to the advancement of ophthalmology in the developing world and help eye care professionals of all disciplines receive access to continuing medical education opportunities. ”

Invited by the Indonesian Ophthalmic Association and hosted by the Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo National Hospital, the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital programme focuses on subspecialty training in paediatrics (cataract/strabismus), glaucoma (adult & paediatric), cornea, medical retina; and advanced ophthalmology including phacoemulsification cataract surgery and ocular oncology. The ORBIS volunteer medical team will transfer critical sight-saving skills to more than 200 eye-care professionals from local hospitals using hands-on surgical training, live surgical demonstrations, lectures and workshops.

“Like ORBIS, Alcon is dedicated to reducing the incidence of preventable blindness worldwide, ” said Dr Hunter Cherwek, medical director, ORBIS International. “Their sponsorship of ORBIS, which has spanned our organization's 28-year existence, strengthens our mission of preventing and treating blindness by providing quality eye care to transform lives. ”

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