Kolkata, India: The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital (OFEH) has landed in Kolkata and will be at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport to conduct more than 100 critical surgeries and training doctors.
The airport authorities have also waived parking charges for the eye hospital.
The private flying hospital is a wing of Orbis International which has worked for “Saving Sight Worldwide” since its foundation in 1982. The organisation is headquartered in New York.
US-based NGO Orbis is organising the mission, which has in the past visited Bangladesh, India, China, Ethiopia and various Latin American states.
“Our fight is against preventable blindness,” Rahul Ali, Orbis country director in India, told Gulf News.
“Our doctors will also give training to ophthalmologists, nurses and other support staff on board the OFEH, which is like no other aircraft in the world.
“It is self-sufficient, with its own generators, air-conditioning units and a five-step water purifying facility to ensure that the water used for surgery is sterile. It also includes a 50-seat classroom, a laser treatment room with a separate operation theatre,” added Ali.
The OFEH currently has 23 staff on board, including four staff ophthalmologists and a medical director. The team includes staff ophthalmologists, nurses, biomedical engineers, communication and logistics staff, flights mechanics, AV and IT specialist.
It is flown by the volunteer pilots.
In India, Orbis has launched a mission against childhood blindness since 2000.
In Kolkata, the state-run Regional Institute of Opthalmology (RIO), Susrut Eye Foundation, Disha Eye Hospital and Shankar Netralaya coordinate with the team of doctors during the 15-day-long program.
Dr Jonathan Song, paediatric ophthalmologist associated with the Wilmer Eye Institute of John Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore), Dr Roberto Pineda of Harvard Medical School, Dr Paul Chan, an expert in retinopathy of prematurity, of Weil Cornell Medical College in New York, Dr Monte del Monte, a cross eye expert, of University of Michigan, Dr John Leslie Brooks, consultant ophthalmologist of Moorfield Eye Hospital in London, Dr Virender Sangnan attached with the L V Prasad Eye Institute will perform surgeries inside the aircraft.
© Gulf NewsSep 2013