Dr Ian Fleming from Clapham, has just returned home from a sight-saving assignment, having swapped his daily commute to Kings College Hospital where he works as an anaesthetist, for the bustle of Kolkata.
As a medical volunteer for ORBIS (www.orbis.org.uk), an international sight saving charity, Ian 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 262,000 medical professionals.
Ian volunteered 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.
Ian used his annual leave to take part in this trip and has been a dedicated volunteer for 8 years, having previously travelled to Syria, Nepal and Zambia on similar sight-saving assignments.
Dr Ian Fleming says; “I very much enjoy volunteering with ORBIS because it works. We don’t just go into an area and treat, we teach to ensure the effects of our visit can be seen long term.”
“I have been volunteering with ORBIS for over eight years and during this time I have been able to offer my assistance and expertise all over the world. Working with anaesthetists at the hospitals we visit really allows me to understand the environment they are working in and enables me to focus my teaching to ensure the doctors gets the most out of our time there.”
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