Qatar Airways welcomed Orbis Flying Eye Hospital to Doha today with an official reception at Doha International Airport (DIA) attended by His Excellency Mr. Ajay Sharma, British Ambassador to the State of Qatar, His Excellency Mr. Ashud Ahmed, Bangladeshi Ambassador to the State of Qatar and Executive Director of Qatar Fund for Development Mr. Misfir Hamad Al-Shahwani, alongside other dignitaries and special guests. A welcome speech was delivered by Hamad International Airport Vice President Commercial and Marketing, Mr. Abdulaziz Al Mass.

The aircraft, a medical training facility housed within a MD-10 aircraft, will be on display until 29 March as part of a tour to raise awareness about preventable blindness and its impact on developing countries. The plane, which touched down in London and Ireland over the last few weeks, will offer students, medical professionals and partners a unique experience – the opportunity to explore the ‘hospital with wings’. While in Doha, the Flying Eye Hospital will be promoting Qatar Creating Vision, an eye health initiative that brings together three charities and 19 hospitals with the aim of providing 5.5 million child eye tests and treatments to children in India and Bangladesh before 2020.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways strongly believes in giving back to the global community. When you have the power to contribute towards making a difference, it is your obligation to do so. As an airline that connects communities and people around the world, we are delighted to have supported Orbis since 2012. We are proud to host the Flying Eye Hospital, and its arrival is a great way to draw attention to the work of Qatar Creating Vision. The initiative is highly commendable, helping give visually impaired children the chance to see again by providing them access to much-needed eye care.”

His Excellency Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al Kuwari, Director General, Qatar Fund for Development commented: “Qatar has a longstanding commitment to driving a wide range of initiatives to strengthen healthcare provision both in Qatar and throughout the world. Many people take vision for granted and don’t realise how significant eye problems can be, particularly for children in the developing world. Half of childhood vision loss can be prevented or cured, so there is much that we can do to improve access to eye care, which everyone deserves.” 

“We are delighted that Qatar Creating Vision is proving to be a platform for NGOs, corporates and the community at large to get involved and help us provide children with a future not constricted or disrupted by a preventable blinding condition.”

Dr. Robert Walters, Orbis Special Envoy to the Middle East said: “Through partnerships, we can change lives, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker for his generosity through the years and the State of Qatar – in particular, the Qatar Fund for Development – for enabling us to provide a clearer and brighter future for children by bringing eye care closer to home.”

As a charity, Orbis trains eye care teams across the world by providing medical professionals with enhanced skills enabling them to treat people struggling with treatable blindness within their community. Orbis places a great deal of emphasis on the benefits of working as part of a team to bring about change.”