PBU participated in Africa wide meeting in Durban, South Africa
The PBU as a conglomerate of NGOs working in Middle East and Africa participated in a 3-day Africa
wide meeting convened by the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Africa region
held from 16 - 18 February in Durban.
The meeting was attended by all major nongovernmental organizations (NGO) working in Africa, IAPB
CEO, IAPB Officials including all the Co-Chairs for Africa, Research institutions. The meeting
delivered on many major issues relating to the Vision for Africa consortium and the IAPB Africa
Business plan including aspects of Human resource development, Advocacy and communication, Primary
eye care, research, resource mobilization, Coordination and collaboration. Committees in these fields
were to be constituted to carry forward the recommendations of the meeting.
During the meeting some new NGOs in the African region including PBU were given a slot to introduce
themselves and their activities. PBU Advisor Babar Qureshi made a presentation on behalf of PBU.
Al Basar International – a major PBU partner - also made a short presentation by the Secretary General
of the organization Dr Adel Al Rushood.
SiB project, Jordan
PBU held stakeholders workshop for Diabetic Retinopathy Program in Irbid
The Prevention of Blindness Union (PBU) in conjunction with the Jordan Ministry of Health held a 2-day
stakeholders workshop to fine tune the strategies for the implementation of the Standard Chartered
Bank supported Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) program and sensitize all major stakeholders in Irbid region.
It was held at the Intercontinental hotel Amman, Jordan from 9 - 10 February 2011.
The workshop was declared open by the Secretary General of the Jordan Ministry of Health Dr Difullah
Allawzi. At the opening ceremony, the Chairman of PBU HRH Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud was represented by
the Managing Director of PBU Dr Abdulaziz AlRajhi. Standard Chartered Bank Jordan was represented at
the occasion by Razan Hindawi head of corporate affairs.
The workshop was attended by ophthalmologists, diabetologists, Internists at tertiary, secondary and
research centers, general practitioners, optometrists and low vision experts in the Irbid region and
surroundings, public health experts, PBU officials and media practitioners. It was facilitated by
international experts on diabetic retinopathy and public health ophthalmology. The workshop consisted
of several plenary presentations which were followed by group works where the participants identified
modalities for the DR screening, referral and monitoring, the appropriate IEC materials and resources
in Jordan for the project and also identified HRD modalities and resources in Jordan for the project.
WHO releases the new global estimates on visual impairment
Using the most up-to-date studies, WHO estimates that the number of people with visual impairment
(presenting vision) is 285 million Of these, 246 million have low vision (and 39 million are estimated
to be blind. The Africa region constituted 15% of world blindness while the EMR had 12.6% of world
Regional Primary Eye Care Workshop in Dubai, UAE
The World Health Organization - Eastern Mediterranean Region Office (WHO-EMRO), in collaboration
with International Agency for Prevention of blindness - Eastern Mediterranean Region(IAPB-EMR), Ministry of Health Dubai and
Sight Savers International, conducted a 3-day workshop in February 2011 on integrating and strengthening primary
eye care in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) . The workshop was held at the Gloria Hotel in Dubai,
UAE. It was attended by the national eye care coordinators and national primary health care
coordinators in the EMR countries, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the region, World Health
Organization. The workshop, which was facilitated by experts from the regional and head offices of
the World Health Organization, public health and public eye health experts, provided a rare platform
on which countries eye care managers interacted with primary health managers. The workshop worked
out recommendations for strengthening primary eye care within the renewal of primary health
initiatives in the region.
Blindness and Diabetic Retinopathy survey in Taif region of Saudi Arabia
The Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC), in collaboration with the Saudi
Ministry of Health, Taif University and IAPB-EMR, conducted a population-based survey on blindness,
visual impairment, and diabetic retinopathy in Taif region of Saudi Arabia. The survey used the new
Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness plus Diabetic Retinopathy methodology (RAAB+DR). The survey
training and supervision was in part provided by the International Center for Eye Health, London School
of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The survey conducted between November 2009 to January 2011 examined 3,052 persons 50 years and above.
Preliminary results revealed a blindness prevalence of 2.6%, with Cataract, Glaucoma and Diabetic
retinopathy as the 3 major causes of blindness. Diabetic Mellitus was present in 29% of the study
population, of which 17% had sight threatening diabetic retinopathy.
The NPBC and the Ministry of Health are planning another such study soon in another region of the
country towards generating more data for optimal planning of eye care in the country.