Orbis Flying Eye Hospital sits on the runway in Mandalay, Myanmar

Flying Eye Hospital Lands in Myanmar

September 2019

The dust had barely had time to settle on the runway in Vietnam before the Flying Eye Hospital touched down for its next training project. Our staff and crew have hit the ground running in Mandalay, Myanmar where we’ve just begun a two-week training project.

The project is generously sponsored by the Alcon Foundation, who we’re celebrating a huge milestone with this year – 40 years of fighting blindness together.

There are even two Alcon Biomedical Engineers on this trip, generously sponsored by Alcon, to train local technicians on how best to use and maintain equipment. Bo Min from Myanmar and Chun Kiat Goh have been great additions to the team – a huge thanks to them and to Alcon for all their help over the years.

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Mandalay - biomedical engineers are shown how to best use equipment

Alcon's Bo Min from Myanmar demonstrating biomedical equipment to local technicians

This two-week Flying Eye Hospital project is designed to support the whole eye health team in Mandalay, and right across the country. From ophthalmologists to nurses, anesthesiologists to biomedical engineers.

Together with our partners, we’ve been focusing on improving surgical and technical skills in medical retina, glaucoma, cornea and pediatric strabismus. The project also supports the Myanmar National Eye Health Plan through public awareness and advocacy.

A mother and her son wait to be seen by Orbis volunteer faculty on screening day during Myanmar Flying Eye Hospital project

Patients turn out for screening day in Mandalay

We have some wonderful Volunteer Faculty and staff here in Myanmar, sharing their skills and expertise with local eye teams. We kicked off with screening day where our crack team of volunteers carefully selected the best training cases.

Dr. Lehmann selecting patients on screening day

We have a long history of working alongside partners in Myanmar. Our first Flying Eye Hospital project stretches back to 1991 with local hospital programs following shortly after.

The Flying Eye Hospital visited Yangon in 1991, and then again in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, and 1999. The first time the Flying Eye Hospital visited Mandalay was in 2000, with follow-up projects in 2004 and 2008.

Slideshow: Week one of our Flying Eye Hospital project

In Myanmar, improving visual impairment and blindness health care is a country-wide priority. Significant strides have been made regarding trachoma elimination throughout the country.

The National Eye Heath Plan, the country’s first national strategic plan for eye health, was launched in March 2017. The purpose of this plan is to improve access to quality eye care services with a goal of reducing avoidable visual impairment by 25% by the end of 2020.

But with the help of supporters, partners and our Volunteer Faculty we can help build a brighter future for Myanmar, and give generations to come the opportunity to see their beautiful country.

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