TORONTO, June 5, 2006 /CNW/ -- The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital,
the world's only fully equipped, state-of-the-art eye surgery and
teaching hospital housed inside a DC-10 aircraft, is in Canada from
June 4-10, 2006 for a goodwill visit to promote the work of ORBIS,
an internationally-recognized organization dedicated to eliminating
blindness in the developing world.
Following the goodwill visit, the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital will
travel to Africa to conduct sight-saving programs in Ethiopia, Uganda,
Ghana, and Nigeria throughout the summer. Several Canadian ophthalmologists
and nurses will participate as volunteers to share their skills
and expertise with their fellow eye care professionals in these
African countries in order to treat blindness and improve access
to eye care. The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital Canada Goodwill Visit,
presented by Sun Life Financial, will feature tours and fundraising
events in Toronto and Ottawa, to help to raise funds and awareness
for ORBIS Canada's sight-saving programs in developing countries.
There are nearly 37 million people throughout the world who are
blind and 28 million don't have to be. 75% of global blindness is
either treatable or preventable. Unfortunately 90% of the world's
blind live in the poorest areas of the developing world where barriers
such as poverty and poor infrastructure hinder the development of
adequate eye care facilities. ORBIS Canada is helping to eliminate
preventable blindness by providing training to eye care professionals,
building eye care infrastructure, and helping to improve access
to quality eye care in the developing world.
Fortunately, global blindness is an area where Canadians can
make a real difference. According to Dr. Brian Leonard, President
of ORBIS Canada, "Treatments to prevent and cure blindness are among
the cheapest and most cost-effective health care interventions available.
Our challenge is making it available to developing countries where
there is often little access to eye care. ORBIS is playing a leadership
role in this regard through our various training programs. Canadians
have a long history of supporting international development efforts
in Africa -- we are truly grateful for their support of our sight-saving
work in countries like Ethiopia, where blindness is prevalent and
the need for assistance is so great."
ORBIS Canada is also proud to highlight the commitment of Canadian
corporations such as Sun Life Financial, FedEx Express, Alcon, and
others for their financial support of our sight-saving programs
in developing countries and for participating in the ORBIS Flying
Eye Hospital Canada Goodwill Visit.
"As supporters of ORBIS Canada sight-saving missions in India
and China, countries in which Sun Life Financial operates, we have
been very impressed with the positive impact these missions have,"
said Donald A. Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Financial.
"We are pleased to present the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital Canada
Goodwill Visit as a means of raising awareness here in Canada of
the effective and important work ORBIS Canada does around the world."
"As an ORBIS global sponsor, FedEx Express has contributed its
vast aviation expertise for over 20 years to help ORBIS deliver
the gift of sight to countless individuals throughout the developing
world. We are proud of our strong and growing commitment to ORBIS,
which is enabling this organization to reach those who are suffering
from avoidable blindness worldwide," said Lisa Lisson, vice president
sales and marketing of FedEx Canada.
Dr. Leonard agrees: "Without the assistance of Canadian corporate,
government, and individual supporters, we simply would not be able
to deliver sustainable programs aimed at training fellow eye care
professionals, building eye care infrastructure, and contributing
to the improvement of eye care delivery in the developing world."
ORBIS Canada is part of a non-aligned, non-profit global development
organization dedicated to preserving and restoring sight by strengthening
the capacity of local partners to prevent and treat blindness. Since
1982, ORBIS has carried out more than 600 sight-saving programs
in over 80 countries, and has helped to train more than 124,000
doctors and other eye care professionals. It is estimated that as
many as 27.5 million people have had their sight restored or preserved
as a result of ORBIS's work.
Endorsed by 70 heads of state, the World Health Organization
and by three successive Secretaries-General of the United Nations,
ORBIS has been praised as a diplomatic ambassador promoting cooperation
between nations and an effective organization in the fight against