Ghana: Flying Eye Hospital Project Highlights

December 2019

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital team and our fantastic Volunteer Faculty have wrapped up their 18-day trip to Accra, Ghana.

Scroll down for all the latest from our final project of 2019, including photo slideshows and stories from patients and volunteers.

We would like to thank Standard Chartered Bank for generously sponsoring this trip. With their help we were able to give hands-on medical training to local doctors in Accra and multi-specialty training in Kumasi Improving the quality of eye care available for generations to come.

In Ghana, there are only 1,117 ophthalmologists for a population of over 28 million

This is the Flying Eye Hospital’s third trip to Ghana, following visits in 1990 and 2006. Thanks to the support of the Orbis family and the dedication of our local partners, we have made significant strides in improving the quality of eye care available across the country.

When the Flying Eye Hospital jets off to a new destination our local partners will continue to benefit from support and mentoring thanks to long term partnerships with the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Himalayan Cataract.

With over 200,000 Ghanaians suffering from blindness, including 9,000 children, Orbis aims to improve accessibility to eye care across the country

Our comprehensive long-term programs look to address deficiencies in the local eye care systems. In Ghana, we have a focus on paediatric eye care.

By strengthening the capacity of local hospitals, increasing awareness of eye issues, and ensuring school children are regularly screened, we aim to reduce avoidable blindness in children.

The project 

Slideshow: Boosting the eye care skills of our wonderful partners

Our amazing team of Volunteer Faculty trained local professionals in pediatric strabismus, cataract(phaco and MSICS), glaucoma, surgical and medical retina, and oculoplastics.

Eye teams from around the world joined teaching sessions through Cybersight, our award-winning telemedicine platform. Cybersight also allowed our Volunteer Faculty to coordinate with Ghanaian doctors ahead of the project to help plan patient screening – another example of how we’re using technology to improve the level of eye care available around the world.

Volunteer story

Dr. Santosh Bhide was a first-time volunteer on our Ghana Flying Eye Hospital Project

Dr. Santosh Bhide, a consultant ophthalmologist at Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune, India was a first-time Volunteer Faculty surgeon teaching manual small incision cataract surgery in Ghana. Growing up, Dr. Bhide was fascinated by aviation and travel.

In college he learned about the Flying Eye Hospital and was intrigued by its ability to reach regions which may lack proper medical training and facilities. When the opportunity arose to join the team in Ghana, he didn’t hesitate. Asked about his observations on his first time on the Flying Eye Hospital, Dr. Bhide said:

“First and most important point, there were tremendous efforts taken and meticulous planning of the entire program. I am sure this must have been in the works for months prior to the actual dates of our arrival. It must have been a herculean task, so kudos to all those who have worked so tirelessly in that process.”

Dr. Bhide volunteered to train eye surgeons from across Africa

Dr. Bhide also commented on the incredible teamwork and unity shown between the dozens of Volunteer Faculty.

“This program could not have been possible without a team. I could see that there was a structured pattern in play. A team with a sense of responsibility and a bond shared among all the various members. It felt like a big family. I was amazed to see that there were 53 team members from 25 different countries working alongside each other with passion for a shared noble cause of treating preventable blindness.”

As a doctor and educator, Dr. Bhide felt that through Orbis he could create a lasting impact in Ghana.

Patient story

Slideshow: Mary can see again after eye surgery in Ghana

The Orbis team travelled to the Korle Bu Hospital to screen patients for surgery on the Flying Eye Hospital. One of the patients treated was Mary, who suffered from both a dense cataract and glaucoma. After screening, Mary was taken to the Flying Eye Hospital to remove the cataract from her eye and replace it with a lens.

Her procedure was broadcasted through Cybersight to demonstrate to local doctors learning on the plane, and further medical professionals around the world. Mary’s new lens has drastically improved her vision and will allow her to once again see the world around her clearly.

Aviation blogger

Our final thank you is to Sam Chui, the #1 aviation influencer in the world. With over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers, Sam takes his viewers on airplane adventures through his vlog.

Sam graciously joined the team and flew with them on the Flying Eye Hospital to Ghana. There, he filmed the assembly of the Flying Eye Hospital to be surgery ready, patient screenings at a local hospital, simulation training, and more!

You can watch his video below to learn more about his experience on the plane, as well as see Mary’s journey to better vision.

As ever, a big thank you to EVERYONE involved in both our Flying Eye Hospital projects and our long-term country programs.

From our wonderful supporters to our project sponsors, our Volunteer Faculty to our local partners – we couldn’t help Change the Way the World Sees without your help.

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