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2010 and 2009

350 cataract surgeries conducted in Cameroon
Cataract Surgeries in Cameroon

Nadi Al Bassar, in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank and Tunisian Agency for Technical Cooperation, conducted their 6th cataract campaigns in Yaounde, Cameroon from 17 - 23 June 2012. A total of 350 cataract operations were conducted including for congenital cataract among children. Also, Dr Andre Omgbwaeballe was trained on manual phaco surgical technique.

2,000 cataract surgeries conducted in Somalia in cooperation with WHO
The IHH humanitarian relief foundation (an international NGO based in Turkey), in collaboration with the World Health Organization-Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (WHO-EMRO), had conducted 2,000 cataract surgeries across Somalia from April this year. The surgeries were spread across Somaliland (1,000), Puntland (600) and Mogadishu (400). Turkish medical teams along with local doctors performed the first group of cataract surgeries in Somaliland Hargaise.

IHH has so far sponsored 61,750 cataract surgeries across Africa, 10,000 of which were in Somalia.

ihh photo2 ihh photo1

CHEF International launches newsletter
CHEF newsletter The Comprehensive Health and Education Forum (CHEF) International - a major partner of PBU - launched a quarterly newsletter which will be highly its activities.

CHEF International based in Peshawar, Pakistan has its mission as the provision of high quality, affordable and sustainable comprehensive health and education services, including the rehabilitation of disabled persons through integrated approaches including total quality management.

Jordan Diabetic Retinopathy Project: Ophthalmologists retrained in modern advances in the management of Diabetic Retinopathy
Jordan Project1 As part of the Diabetic retinopathy control project in Irbid Jordan, which is being sponsored by the Standard Chartered Bank and implemented by PBU and the Jordan Ministry of Health, fourteen ophthalmologists from hospitals in Irbid received an intensive update course on early detection and treatment of Diabetic retinopathy from 26 - 28 May 2012.

Jordan Project2 The training included lectures and practice in clinics. It was conducted at the Ophthalmology Department of University of Jordan by Prof Muawyah Bdour – a vitreo-retinal expert and Chairman of ophthalmology department at University of Jordan and Dr Mohammad Abu Ameerh, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Jordan.

Jordan Project3 Further trainings with more practice on laser treatment for Diabetic retinopathy were conducted for June and July 2012.

WHA discussed progress of Action Plan for Prevention of Blindness
The World Health Assembly (WHA) held in Geneva in May 2012, discussed the progress report on the implementation of the Action Plan for the Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment (2009-13) and call for a new action plan for 2014-2019. Fifteen WHO member states (Chile, India, Iraq, United States of America, Saudi Arabia, China, Russian Federation, Australia, Paraguay, Thailand, Ethiopia, Bahamas, Mauritania and Mexico) all spoke of the importance of focusing on avoidable blindness and most of them outlined what they had done in-country to support the 2009-13 Action Plan objectives. Six countries specifically mentioned their positive support for the development of the new plan (India, USA, Australia, Ethiopia and Mexico and Saudi Arabia - on behalf of all the 22 Eastern Mediterranean countries).

Several member states also expressed their concern on the inadequate resources and commitment made to implement the aspirations of the existing plan. The Assistant Director General for NCDs, Dr Oleg Chestnov, responded by confirming the process to develop the new action plan and invited member states to respond to the web based consultation of the zero draft due to be posted in early July.

Member countries request inclusion of prevention of blindness as a priority in WHO Work Plan 2014-19
At the World Health Assembly session on WHO reform (24 May 2012, Geneva) during which the WHO General Program of Work (GPW) for the period 2014-19 was discussed some member countries made intervention requesting WHO to include eye health and prevention of blindness as one of the priority areas of work in its next work plan called the GPW which is currently being developed.

Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) strongly requested the inclusion of eye health and blindness in the new WHO GPW for the period 2014-19.

EMR has been a prime mover and main vanguard for championing regional and global policies for the success of eye health and prevention of blindness. Saudi Arabia had always led in advocating prevention of blindness and visual impairment in previous meetings of World Health Assembly.

Earlier on 22 May 2012 during a session on Non communicable disease (NCD) three countries (Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and the Holy see (Vatican )) all spoke about the importance of the blindness and visual impairment agenda.

Africa Glaucoma Meeting adopts Kampala Resolution

The Public Health Control of Glaucoma Visual Loss Meeting organized by PBU in collaboration with IAPB Africa, which held in Kampala Uganda from 17 - 18 April, has come up with a resolution towards control of the needless visual loss from Glaucoma in the Africa continent. The resolution was a product of 2 days discussions, deliberations and brain storming among over 30 experts in Glaucoma, eye care program, governmental and non-governmental organizations, training institutions, professional bodies, patients group in the region etc. Please click here for the content of the resolution.

In addition to the resolution the meeting also developed actionable activities that will be undertaken by various stakeholders in eye care in the Africa region to address the high burden of glaucoma visual loss.

The meeting was funded by the Islamic Development Bank and IMPACT- EMR.

Click here to view the full workshop report.

PBU organizes workshop on ‘Public Health Control of Glaucoma Visual Loss in Africa’
The PBU, in conjunction with International Agency for Prevention of Blindness Africa regional office (IAPB Africa) and Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO), organized a workshop on Public Health control of Glaucoma visual loss in Africa’ from 17 - 18 April 2012 in Kampala Uganda.

The workshop aimed to set in motion strategies that will reduce the high burden of visual loss from Glaucoma in Africa. It will be attended by major stakeholders in eye care and prevention of blindness in Africa. The workshop was partly supported by Islamic Development Bank and IMPACT-EMR and Makerere University Kampala was the local organizer. For more details, please click here.

Saudi Arabia concludes 3rd RAAB +DR survey
Saudi Arabia survey

The Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee and the Ministry of Health completed the 3rd RAAB +DR survey in Al Ahsa region of the Kingdom. This brings to three the number of RAAB DR surveys conducted in the Kingdom in the last one and half years.

The surveys are aimed to provide data needed to review eye care and diabetic retinopathy services in the Kingdom. The surveys were done with collaboration of IMPACT-EMR and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King Saud University.

WHO develops a follow up Action Plan for Visual Impairment and Blindness 2014-2019
Executive Board of WHO at its 130th session in January 2012 in Geneva considered the report on progress in implementing the action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment 2009–2013. It noted that the current action plan will end in 2013, and decided that work should commence immediately on a follow-up plan for the period 2014–2019.

It is expected that member countries, international partners and other stakeholders will contribute actively to the development of the new plan.

New Action Plan for Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-19: Inputs needed from member countries and international partners
The Action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment 2009-2013 expired in 2013. So the WHO developed a follow up action plan for prevention of blindness and visual impairment for the period 2014-2019.

In May 2012, member States and international partners were invited to submit their views. All members’ states and international partners actively participated in developing the action plan to ensure ownership and implementation.

9th General Assembly of IAPB, India: Special visa processing for some countries
IAPB Assembly Logo There was a special visa processing for some countries to attend the forthcoming General Assembly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), which was held in Hyderabad India from 17 - 20 September 2012. The countries are namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan or Stateless individual. The organizing committee of the General Assembly assured that there will be special arrangements to ensure persons from these countries secure visa to attend the meeting.

WHO release new blindness data
The World Health Organization had released new blindness and visual impairment data. The new estimate reports 285 million people with visual impairment of which 39 million are blind.

For more details visit : http://www.who.int/blindness/en/.

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