Dr Bazil Ateleanu, from Mansfield, Cardiff, jetted off for a sight-saving assignment in Cameroon, swapping his daily commute to the University Hospital of Wales to help restore sight in the developing country.
As a medical volunteer for ORBIS (www.orbis.org.uk), an international sight saving charity, Bazil volunteered as part of an international team comprised of world renowned experts, to teach the local doctors and nurses the vital skills needed when treating ophthalmic conditions prevalent in the area.
Dr Bazil Ateleanu worked on both the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, a plane which hosts a fully equipped operating theatre, laser suite, pre and post-op spaces and dedicated teaching facilities on board; and within the local partner hospital. Through their missions and training, ORBIS has to date helped to provide 23 million treatments in 92 countries.
According to the World Health Organisation, 39 million people globally are blind but 80% could be treated or cured. 90% of these people live within developing countries where eye care facilities are often limited. The number of people suffering with preventable blindness has reached overwhelming proportions.
Many eye conditions can be treated with relatively simple, inexpensive and quick operations, such as that of removing a cataract. However the skill and equipment required 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.
The anaesthetist has been involved with ORBIS for over four years and has previously travelled to Indonesia and Mongolia on similar missions.
Bazil says; “Firstly, I find these programmes as being clinically-challenging, but more importantly philosophically-humbling experiences. There is as much to learn from the local doctors and nurses we work with, as it is to teach the local anaesthetists.
“Secondly, the atmosphere created by ORBIS team is second to none. These very experienced practitioners succeeded to combine over the years an impressive level of professionalism with a relaxed, friendly, welcoming environment. I made numerous friends all over the world through these programmes.
“Thirdly, it gives me a more objective tool to compare and contrast the conditions, the pluses and minuses of working in the NHS and living in the UK. There are always things to improve in our backyard, but in the same sense, one could appreciate and be more grateful for NHS/UK achievements.
“I consider an honour and a privilege to be able to volunteer for these immensely satisfying programmes.”
For information on ORBIS, images or to interview Bazil or any other member of our volunteer faculty, 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