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Orbis touches down in Philippines

Orbis touches down in the Philippines during National Blindness Prevention month

September 2010

Each September a whole month is devoted to Blindness Prevention in the Philippines and providing strong back up is the appearance in Manila of Orbis, the world’s only eye surgical and training hospital with wings.  It will remain there until September 10 to deliver sight-saving surgeries to those suffering from blindness and visual impairments as well as to conduct a high-level skills exchange program and conference with the St. Luke’s Medical International Eye Institute.

ORBIS International is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and treating blindness by providing quality eye care to transform lives. It provides the tools, training, and technology necessary for local partners to assess their needs and develop workable and lasting solutions to the tragedy of unnecessary 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.

“What ORBIS does is to facilitate the enhancement of current procedures, techniques, and technology in order to add value to what’s being done around the world in the battle against blindness, and as a result, we have workable and lasting solutions to combat blindness,” said Dato’ Kulasegaran Sabaratnam, head of Orbis International’s board of directors.

Since ORBIS’ inauguration in 1982, it has benefited people in 86 countries, has embarked on imparting skills to more than 195,000 health care personnel around the world, and provided eye care treatment to more than 6.8 million people around the world.

ORBIS targets hands-on and participant level skills exchange in the areas of cornea transplantation, advanced cataract, vitreoretinal diseases, and several diseases affecting children including congenital glaucoma, strabismus, and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). The focus of the skills exchange will not be limited to ophthalmology, but will also include continuing medical education designed for nursing, anesthesiology, and biomedical engineering.

The leading cause of blindness among adults in the Philippines is cataract, accounting for more than half a million (550,000) cases. Additionally, up to one hundred children lose their sight every week in the Philippines, and it has been estimated that almost half of these cases are either treatable or preventable. Poor nutrition, measles, and premature birth are among the leading causes of preventable blindness in children.

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