Date: 1st November 2012
November 1st, 2012 - A blind teenage girl from Zambia was the 200,000th children’s surgery case by sight saving charity ORBIS. 14 year old Memory Chonga received a cataract operation at the recently opened ORBIS Paediatric Eye Care Centre in Kitwe.
Before the operation Memory’s condition, which developed overtime, caused severe clouding of her eyes and almost total loss of her sight. It caused her depression and to withdraw from normal life. But now Memory’s outlook is totally changed. Her vision is now good and she spends as much time as possible reading whatever she can lay her hands on, a pleasure that has recently been denied to her because of her gradual sight lost. When asked what she thought of her ‘new eyes’ she exclaimed: “Praises, praises, thank you, praises, thank you.”
Memory’s sight saving operation is just one of a raft of impressive milestones reached by ORBIS and its partners in its 30th anniversary year:-
• 18.8 million medical/optical treatments (5.6m children / 13.2 m adults)
• 869,000 eye surgeries / laser procedures
• 215,000 nurses and others trained / 90,000 doctors trained
Dr Robert Walters, ORBIS Chairman commented: “We work where the need is greatest and 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries. Our work leaves a lasting legacy by training local medical professionals to treat and teach quality eye care in their communities. Many of the operations we perform on children like Memory are simple and incredibly cost effective. The results, of course, are priceless.”
At the heart of ORBIS’s work is the Flying Eye Hospital - a ‘hospital with wings’. It is staffed by an ORBIS team and medical volunteers and is a fully equipped teaching facility inside a DC- 10 aircraft. Hospital-based training programmes are carried out in the countries where the need is greatest including current long-term programmes in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, China, India, Nepal, Peru, Zambia, South Africa, Haiti and Vietnam. ORBIS is establishing cataract and paediatric services in parts of sub-Saharan Africa as one in five of the world’s blind children live there.
To continue this work ORBIS needs on-going financial support. Just £19 could give an adult patient their sight back and allow them to become an independent, productive member of their community. To make a donation, or to find out more about ORBIS’ work visit: www.orbis.org.uk.
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• Since 1982, ORBIS has conducted hospital based training programs in 90 countries, including those visited by the FEH
• To date, ORBIS’s Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) has visited 77 countries, and conducted 279 training and service programs in 154 cities
• 90,000 doctors and over 215,000 nurses and other eye care workers have been trained globally by ORBIS and our partners
• 18.8 million medical and optical treatments have been provided to adults and children, of which 5.6 million were for children
• ORBIS and partners have performed approximately 869,000 surgeries
Global Facts about Visual Impairment1
• About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries
• 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured
• 19 million children are visually impaired globally
• Top 3 causes of visual impairment: refractive errors, cataracts and glaucoma
• There are an estimated 1.4 million blind children worldwide. One in five of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.²
• c.50% of childhood blindness is avoidable.³
1WHO (2011). Factsheet N°282 Retrieved from www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/
² WHO (2010) Global initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness: Action Plan 2009-2013. Geneva:WHO
³ Johnson, G., The epidemiology of eye disease. 2003: Arnold. 260-86.
Simon Brookes or Wendy Richmond
T: 0207 378 3430