Dr Isabel Aguilera, from Penarth Marina, has just returned home from a sight-saving mission having swapped her daily commute to the University Hospital of Wales where she works as a paediatric anaesthetist, for the bustle of Panama City.
As a medical volunteer for ORBIS (www.orbis.org.uk), an international sight saving charity, Isabel taught local doctors vital skills for treating ophthalmic conditions that are common to the area and have robbed the community of a brighter future.
The issue of preventable blindness has reached staggering proportions. 39 million people in the world are blind but 80% could be treated or cured. 90% of these people are in developing countries where eye care facilities are often limited.
Simple, cheap and quick operations like that of removing a cataract can save a person from losing their livelihood, independence and stop them becoming a burden to their family. But the skill and equipment needed to help are often lacking in the places where they are most at need. ORBIS works tirelessly to change this situation and over the years has helped to further educate 305,000 medical professionals.
Dr Isabel Aguilera worked with the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, a plane which hosts a fully equipped operating theatre and laser suite, with dedicated teaching facilities on-board. Through their missions and training, ORBIS has to date helped to provide 23 million treatments in 92 countries.
Isabel used her annual leave to take part in this trip and has been involved with the charity for almost eight years, having previously travelled to Peru and San Salvador on similar missions.
Isabel says; “I very much enjoy volunteering with ORBIS and Panama was an amazing experience. The work the charity undertakes is important because we not only treat patients, but also teach the local medical teams by understanding the problems they face and share with them new techniques which are readily available and used here.
She continues; “By providing treatment to some of the poorest people in the world, we improve their prospects and enable them to re-engage with their community and by working with local doctors, we ensure they are better equipped to continue managing eye conditions in the future. I’m proud to be a part of a charity that can do this.”
For information on ORBIS or further images, please contact Natasha Lee, Communications Officer on 020 7608 7284 or Nlee@orbis.org.uk
Notes to Editor:
ORBIS provides the tools, training and technology necessary for local hospitals to develop workable and lasting solutions to fight the tragedy of unnecessary blindness.
By building their long-term capabilities, ORBIS helps its partner institutions take action - to reach a state where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible and sustainable.
To learn more about ORBIS, please visit www.orbis.org.uk