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ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital Visits Canada Before Saving Sight in Africa

The world's only Flying Eye Hospital stops in Canada for a Goodwill Visit to help raise awareness and funds to fight blindness in the developing world.

lasik ORBIS maintains a flying eye hospital that serves those in need of eye care throughout the developing world.


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 global blindness.

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