The Flying Eye Hospital, a unique aircraft equipped as a medical teaching facility, is set to arrive in Lusaka, Zambia, for its latest sight-saving training project at the end of September. Over three weeks, Orbis, the organization behind the initiative, will provide training to local eye care teams to help restore the sight of both children and adults grappling with vision loss.
Following a successful training project in Can Tho, Vietnam, earlier this year, the Flying Eye Hospital is now heading to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. This airborne medical teaching facility boasts an operating room, classroom, and recovery room.
It will serve as a platform for eye health professionals from across Zambia to enhance their eye care skills through a meticulously designed training program.
The program aims to bolster eye health in Zambia, focusing on improving care for both adults and children. Approximately 4% of the country’s population is estimated to be living with preventable vision loss. This vital project is supported by the Alcon Foundation and OMEGA.
Over three weeks, the training will encompass sessions and workshops led by Orbis’s expert staff and Volunteer Faculty. While some training will occur at the Flying Eye Hospital itself, additional activities will take place at Orbis’s partner hospital, University Teaching Hospitals-Eye Hospital, in Lusaka.
The first week of the project will provide surgical simulation training for ophthalmologists, nurses, and anesthesiologists. This training will boost their confidence and enhance the quality of hands-on training in the subsequent weeks. Simulation training is known to improve patient outcomes.
In the second and third weeks, the focus will shift to live surgical training, covering eye care subspecialties such as oculoplastics, pediatric strabismus, adult and pediatric glaucoma, and cataract the leading cause of blindness in Zambia.
Additionally, a biomedical engineering workshop will be provided to engineers and technicians during the second week.
Local trainers from Zambia will also contribute their skills and expertise, collaborating with colleagues from across the country.
The training delivered through the Flying Eye Hospital project equips local doctors with the skills needed to treat sight-threatening conditions and restore vision in their communities. This effort not only saves sight but also builds capacity for the future, ensuring that generations of ophthalmologists can continue this vital work.
Orbis’s commitment to preventing and treating vision loss in Zambia is part of a broader initiative to increase access to eye care in the country. By training and expanding the workforce of skilled eye care providers, expanding pediatric access to eye health services, and building partnerships with local hospitals, Orbis aims to make eye care more accessible and prevent avoidable blindness in Zambia.
Through ongoing efforts and initiatives like the Flying Eye Hospital, Orbis is dedicated to combatting eye diseases and improving eye health services for both children and adults in Zambia.