Orbis Flying Eye Hospital project opening ceremony in Vietnam

Vietnam Flying Eye Hospital Project Wrap-Up

September 2019

Our 2019 Flying Eye Hospital Project in Hue, Vietnam, has now drawn to close. The three-week project was a resounding success, thanks in no small part to the commitment and enthusiasm of our local partners from the Hue Eye Hospital.

The Flying Eye Hospital was a home-away-from-home to 16 of our Volunteer Faculty over the past three weeks. Our team was made up of leading experts from all over the world specializing in glaucoma, oculoplastics, surgical and medical retina, anesthesiology and pediatrics.

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital staff and volunteers in Vietnam for a three week sight-saving project

The Flying Eye Hospital is a 'home away from home' for our staff and volunteers

All of our team and crew were impressed by our partners from the Hue Eye Hospital who certainly made the most of the training opportunity. Orbis Volunteer Faculty, Dr. Wai Ching Lam, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Hong Kong told us:

"I think the thing unique about our Vietnam projects are the people. These trainees were very enthusiastic; they love to learn learn. You can see that in their passion and learning both in surgery, as well as in lectures. One thing that I've observed is that the trainee doctors have so much enthusiasm.

Slidehow: Dr. Wai Ching Lam was very impressed with the local doctors

We have a long history of working in Vietnam, stretching back to 1996 - ten years before the plane first touched down. By 2000, we’d already helped to set up a number of long-term projects, and by 2003, we’d established a permanent office in Hanoi. In 2018 alone, our Vietnam team helped train 1,750 eye health professionals, screen 200,000 children, prescribe 40,000 pairs of glasses and perform 9,000 eye surgeries.

Hue is the capital of Thua Thien–Hue Province, located in central region where the prevalence of blindness is found to be the highest. In Hue alone, it is estimated that 4,900 children are blind, 50,000 children have some type of strabismus and 500,000 children have refractive errors - something which can be corrected with a simple pair of glasses.

There is an urgent need for pediatric eye care as there are only a limited number of trained ophthalmologists equipped to deal with the complications that come with operating on children's eyes.

Slideshow: the team pack up the plane after an amazing three weeks

One of the local doctors we worked with on this training project, Dr. Tran Thi Bich Hai, has trained with us a number of times. She is 30 years old and was looking forward to working alongside her mentor, Dr. Doug Fredrick, Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mt. Sinai, New York, NY.

Dr. Hai told us: "This hands-on training program is unique in the sense that it directly offers us clear guidance and instructions on techniques - and even on how to improve our weaknesses in examining, treatment and patient follow-up. It is very beneficial to us doctors because it provides us with valuable and realistic experience."

Thanks to our online telehealth platform, Cybersight, Dr. Hai was able to expand her knowledge even further by discussing some of her cases with our online mentors, and sitting in on some of her colleagues' cases:

"Cybersight enabled me to discuss complicated medical cases with leading experts in this field. Cybersight also allows me to take a look at my colleagues’ topics and cases, through which I have gained great experience in examining patients and performing surgeries."

Slideshow: Dr. Hai improved her pediatric skills thanks to your support

Thanks to Orbis training programs, both on board the plane and in her local hospital, Dr. Hai has been able to learn the additional skills needed to operate on children:

"Prior to joining the Orbis program, I was mostly treating eye diseases for adult patients. After undergoing Orbis programs, I have specialized in pediatric ophthalmology, including examination, diagnosis and treatment, which covers both internal treatment and surgery. It was my privilege to have studied under many doctors from Orbis - to be able to learn directly from such experienced experts has really helped me fine-tune my skills in this field."

It's always great to know the local doctors have made the most of the state-of-the-art equipment and world-class mentoring that comes with our Flying Eye Hospital projects. But what really moves our team is the impact they have on those in need of care.

Brave Thanh, 3, was born with a condition called ptosis, or drooping eyelid. For children it is often caused by an underdevelopment of the muscle that lifts the upper eyelid. As well as being a cosmetic problem, drooping eyelids can obstruct the child's visual field and lead to amblyopia - poor visual development - and eventually blindness.

But this isn't the case for Thanh anymore.

Slideshow: Thanh and his mother on board our Flying Eye Hospital last week



As you can see, Thanh's mother was grinning from ear to ear after surgery, now Thanh can live his childhood free from the potential risk of losing his sight.

We'd like to say a big thank you to our wonderful supporters, generous partners and world-leading Volunteer Faculty for making these projects possible.

Donate Today

50

75

100