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Pana Merchant

The Hon. Pana  Merchant, B.A. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Pana Merchant represents the province of Saskatchewan and the Senatorial Division of Saskatchewan. She has served in the Senate of Canada since December 12, 2002.

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ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital

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Statement made on 17 November 2011 by Senator Vivienne Poy (retired)

Hon. Vivienne Poy:

Honourable senators, by now you will have received an invitation — and a reminder — to the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital Canada Goodwill Tour Grand Reception, which will take place next Tuesday, November 22, at the Hilton Garden Inn at 2400 Alert Road.

Parliamentarians have all been invited to the VIP Grand Reception to tour the Flying Eye Hospital, a converted DC-10, with a state-of-the-art surgical and teaching facility. Guests will be bused to the hangar where the plane is stationed.

The ORBIS aircraft is fitted with a 48-seat classroom. Surgical procedures in the operating room are broadcast to the classroom and nearby hospitals. Large numbers of health professionals observe the surgeries and ask questions during the operations via a two-way audio-visual system.

ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital helps to restore sight to those who have gone blind in developing countries. Over 29 years, ORBIS has benefited people in 89 countries, helped train 88,000 doctors, over 200,000 nurses and many other health professionals, and 15 million patients have received treatment.

ORBIS reaches out to many people through education, training and capacity building. It has, over the years, transformed societies by giving developing countries the greatest possible assets, knowledge and expertise as well as the best hope for long-term sustainable solutions to avoidable blindness.

Globally, there are 39 million blind people. One person goes blind every five seconds. The tragedy is that, with proper treatment, most blindness is preventable.

What distinguishes ORBIS Canada from other charities is their focus on capacity building, through the training offered by the volunteer doctors and nurses at the Flying Eye Hospital. The operation costs are minimal, thanks to the dedication of its numerous medical volunteers and the support of sponsors who believe in ORBIS' vision.

I encourage all honourable senators to visit ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital on November 22 and to join me in recognizing ORBIS and its volunteers whose dedication and compassion are changing our world.

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