Dubai: The world’s only flying eye hospital debuted at the Dubai Air Show on Sunday.
The refurbished Boeing MD-10 freighter was donated by Fed-Ex and started in 1974.
Staffed by volunteer opthalmic specialists, the Flying Eye Hospital travels to countries with under-sourced medical services. As well as training local health care teams to treat eye issues, it conducts sight saving surgeries in its on-board operating theatre.
It is operated by Orbis International, a charity organisation based in New York. Orbis is also developing an on-board simulation center to train local medical professionals more effectively.
The medical staff do face challenges due to the lack of resources in some of the countries that they go to.
According to Monelle Ross, a staff nurse on the aircraft: “The challenge is to look at what resources are available and how we can work with them. We don’t want to make solutions for these communities far-fetched, but make it feasible and sustainable. However, when we see the change and the impact on people’s lives - it is wonderful. And that’s what we do.”
According to Cynthia Berwyn, the pilot of the Orbis: “The aircraft arrived at Dubai after a month-long programme in Cameroon, and will leave for Bangladesh on Thursday, after the Dubai Air Show.”