The ‘Women in Conflict Areas’ initiative, led by Qatar Development Bank (QDB), carried out a successful simulation of ophthalmic surgery and nursing techniques through the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.
A group of female ophthalmologists, who receive humanitarian support from the State of Qatar, conducted the simulation on board the plane under the supervision of QDB, and in cooperation with Qatar Charity, over a one-week period in November.
The simulation is the hospital’s first international training program since the COVID-19 pandemic. It aimed at providing appropriate training for women who usually cannot access training opportunities so that they can support more people within their communities. Participants from seven countries, namely Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, joined the training program, with the aim of obtaining in-depth simulation training on eye surgery techniques by volunteers, employees, and specialists of Orbis.
The training project is part of the new initiative launched by Qatar Development Bank on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, in an effort to empower women in conflict-affected societies and motivate them to confront crises.
Libyan ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Israa Al Nayhoum commended the training week, saying that it was concentrated and rich in information, and was provided by expert volunteers who shared the experience they have gained over years.
She expressed pleasure with this opportunity especially since the trainees in this course do not have access to the same equipment and techniques, nor such simulation.
Consultant ophthalmologist and Orbis volunteer Dr Samita Mulani said that the training was attended by participants from areas where conflict can suppress their ability to learn.
Over the course of a week, the young women discussed their personal and professional challenges, and the group became a promising family that supports and guides each other, she noted.
She added that many parties have worked together to implement this program, noting that Qatari executives, Qatar Airways, and Hamad International Airport provided the necessary support for the plane - Flying Eye Hospital - which is the only internationally accredited teaching hospital for ophthalmology.
In her turn, the Associate Director of Clinical Services at the hospital Dr. Maria Romero said that there are 112 million women suffering from blindness globally, and the availability of workers in the field is critical, stressing the importance of creating opportunities and such programmes.
Romero also emphasized the importance of strong partnerships and teamwork as vital and necessary to reduce blindness everywhere.