With more than 285 million people who are visually impaired worldwide and 4 out of 5 suffering from preventable conditions, FedEx Express, and international eye care charity Orbis, recently ‘landed’ their world-class Orbis Flying Eye Hospital in Dublin.
The third-generation Flying Eye Hospital, which visited Dublin Airport at the beginning of March, is the world’s only mobile ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an aircraft donated by FedEx in 2011.
The aircraft has been custom designed to create an advanced medical training and technology facility to further the skills of eye care teams across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
FedEx team members support Orbis through a variety of volunteer roles, including piloting the Flying Eye Hospital, providing maintenance and ground support, serving as translators during medical programmes and helping organise Pull for Sight aeroplane events. FedEx also provides transportation services to Orbis, helping to ensure that sensitive medical supplies arrive at Orbis medical training programmes around the world.
“We are immensely proud of our enduring relationship with Orbis and are committed to continuing to provide our support and assistance,” said David Canavan, senior vice president of Network & Hub Operations at FedEx Express Europe. “Working with them for more than three decades, Orbis is one of our longest-running affiliations with a non-profit organisation, and in 2011 we donated an aircraft for the third-generation Flying Eye Hospital to help fight and treat preventable blindness worldwide. We look forward to helping support Orbis and their outstanding work for many years to come.”
Orbis Ireland is focused on one project in southern Ethiopia, which is working to eliminate avoidable blindness. In 2015, Irish donors ensured that more than 1.75 million people in Ethiopia received antibiotics to treat eye disease in addition to enabling 4,000 eye surgeries in the same region.
“For over 30 years FedEx has supported the work of Orbis across the globe through more than $22 million in donations and in-kind shipping,” said Maurice Cox, chairman of Orbis Ireland. “Their contribution spans so many areas of Orbis work, from their donation of the MD-10 housing the new Flying Eye Hospital to ensuring vital supplies reach partners. Their employees’ dedication is also amazing, with pilots volunteering their time to fly the aircraft between training programmes and FedEx professionals also maintaining the plane.”