Over 30 Trips. Over 10 Countries. Countless Lives Impacted.
"I joined Orbis because I believed in their mission and the people who had given their time previously. I also felt that education of medical personnel should be addressed in addition to standard medical care where it was most needed. The extra bonus was to discover the innovation of our “trainees” in coping with their own patient load and problems."
Support VF (Volunteer Faculty): Dr. Gordon Douglas
It's been about 10 years since my last mission to Africa. Initially, an invitation to participate in Orbis activities came from Dr. Simon Holland, a former resident of UBC, where I worked. I began in March of 1992 in Yangon and finished in Kampala, Uganda in April 2010. I spent a total of 43 weeks on the FEH (Flying Eye Hospital) and involved in hospital-based programming. Of these, 16 hours were on the DC9 and DC10. I was a Medical Director in 2004/2005 and was involved in 11 missions at that time – all on the plane.
In reflection, I spent some time in Asia: 12 weeks in China, 8 missions in India, Bangladesh for 2, Vietnam for 3, Hong Kong for 1 and Myanmar for 2. Africa included Libya twice; Ethiopia 4 times; Tanzania 3 times; Ghana once, Nigeria once; Uganda once.
The Middle East visits included Aleppo (2) and Deir El Azzor (1) in Syria. South American visits included Paraguay (1), Jamaica (1), and Peru (1). Former USSR countries included: Bulgaria (2) and Romania (1). Other travel included fund-raising and training sessions – Taiwan, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Ottawa, and Victorville. I was fortunate to be in the initial assessment /front-work for Ethiopia with obvious success judging from today’s activities there.
My greatest positive of Orbis’s experience was the realization that, independent of race, religion, and geography; doctors, nurses, and biomedical technicians can communicate and teach across all differences around the world, for the benefit of their patients.
We've accomplished great things together – but there's still more to do.
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Remember – It only takes $50 to save the sight of an adult and $100 to restore the sight of a child!