The World Innovation Summit for Health

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) is an initiative of the Qatar Foundation. The summit gathers thousands of healthcare experts, entrepreneurs and policy makers from around the world – providing an opportunity for global collaboration and innovation on some of healthcare’s most pressing concerns.

During Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex’s visit to Qatar in November 2017, Her Excellency Dr Hanan Al Kuwari – Qatar's Minister of Public Health - hosted a round-table with representatives from various organisations including WISH. The round-table focused on topics such as the role of Global Philanthropy in healthcare, the role of skilled volunteers and the power of education to open a world of opportunities.

The day concluded with the announcement that Eye Health would be, for the first time, a forum of the World Innovation Summit for Health 2018.

Doha Healthcare Week

Additionally, for the first time since its inception, WISH 2018 delivered an inaugural Doha Healthcare Week, bringing talks, interactive workshops, sports activities and health checks to the community at large to explore healthcare in an innovative and enjoyable way.

To mark the occasion, Orbis brought the Flying Eye Hospital back to Qatar. With the support of seven volunteers from Reach Out To Asia and Qatar University we conducted five days of private tours.

Qatar Airways facilitated the access of more than 500 guests to the aircraft, from over 50 different countries, 80 organisations, and seven embassies - UK, US, India, France, Vietnam, Canada, Austria - who toured our one of a kind training facility.

Thanks to the coordination of Qatar Ministry of Publich Health, Orbis led a series of workshops and simulations for Qatar's medical professionals, on board the aircraft - focusing on: Cataract (Phaco); Medical Retina; Phacoemulsification using Eyesi; Demonstrations using the model eye – broadcasted from the Flying Eye Hospitals’s Operating Theatre on Complex Cataract Case's and Glaucoma Trab Surgery.

The Orbis team delivered presentations on a “day in the life of a Flying Eye Hospital Staff Ophthalmologist” and an introduction to our telemedicine platform, Cybersight. The webinar was led by Dr Ahmed Gomaa (Cornea Specialist) from Birmingham, UK. Ahmed was the former Flying Eye Hospital director and led the first visit of the the aircraft to Doha in 2012.

The Ministry coordinated a live demonstration led by Dr Fahad Al Qahtani, which streamed onboard the Flying Eye Hospital for teaching purposes.

Maria Montero

Head Ophthalmologist, Orbis Fying Eye Hospital

None of us are ever done learn­ing, we have to remain hum­ble and keep on shar­ing the knowledge.

Orbis also organised with Oryx Rotana an ‘inter-school’ competition with local schools such as DESS. The aim of the day was to raise awareness of preventable blindness and for the students to experience different senses while blindfolded which included:

  • Food tasting - including watermelon jelly, puff pastry, guacamole and brie cheese;
  • Locating their team leader using just their voice;
  • And navigating towards a board to try and put the glasses on the 'surgeon'.

The colouring competition enabled them to “design” the plane, on the theme of “what does the gift of sight mean to me?”

Finally, to engage a global audience during this special "Doha Healthcare Week", Hamad International Airport hosted an Orbis booth. With more than two million passengers travelling through the hub every month, the platform encouraged the airport’s passengers to discover more about Orbis and the Qatar Creating Vision initiative, funded by the Qatar Fund for Development.

Wish Summit 2018

Around 2000 healthcare experts, entrepreneurs and policy makers from 116 countries gathered in the Qatar National Convention Centre, Doha, for the World Innovation Summit for Health 2018. The summit brought together some of the world’s leading experts to discuss the most pressing health concerns, to showcase exciting health innovations, and to delve into new evidence-based ideas.

During the opening plenary, Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham highlighted the fact that much of visual impairment is preventable or treatable, and whilst we know what the solutions are, we must see greater investment and interventions to tackle the problem.

Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham

Opening Plenary

With­out a dra­mat­ic increase in screen­ing, we face an increase in eye health con­di­tions linked to age­ing […] Sight is the most pre­cious of our five sens­es; yet 80% of sight loss is avoid­able. We can and must do more.

Her Excellency, Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health for Qatar, mentioned the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital during her speech at the opening plenary. She celebrated partnership and collaboration, acknowledging our aircraft as a shining example of collaboration; highlighting that the plane ‘trains the eye surgeons of tomorrow’ and partners with local hospitals in Asia, Africa and Latin America to provide surgery and training and raise awareness of eye health.

Her Excellency Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari

Qatar Minister of Public Health

[The Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal] is a resource like no other.

In addition to contributing to the WISH report entitled "Bright Future: A New Vision for Eye Health", Orbis participated in an ‘Agora’ session. These interactive discussions featured experts in various fields putting forward their perspectives, with a format enabling plenty of audience participation.

Dr Robert Walters, Chairman of Orbis in the Middle East, alongside Dr Christoph Benn, Senior Adviser at the Global Fund, led an Agora hosted by Zyad Limam. The Agora focused on the use of innovation to overcome barriers to access to healthcare in remote areas.

The shape of the Orbis stand in the 'Innovation Hub' was inspired by the Flying Eye Hospital, with videos, images and captions displaying information on Orbis's work, the Qatar Creating Vision initiative and Cybersight. We were honoured to welcome a range of government and diplomatic representatives, such as Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, The First Lady of Nigeria, Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein, Mother of King Abdullah II of Jordan and representatives from various Ministries of Health (Sri Lanka, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Paraguay).

The World Innovation Summit for Health will convene its global community of healthcare leaders for a fifth time in Doha in the fall of 2020.

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