Libya develops national eye health action plan
The Libyan Ministry of Health, in collaboration with WHO-EMRO and IAPB-EMR, are developing a new
action plan for eye health in Libya. This is in compliance with the recent World Health Assembly
(WHA) resolutions 66.4 requesting countries to domesticate and implement the new Global Action
Plan for Eye Health: Towards Universal Eye Health 2014-19. The action plan will be developed
during a planning workshop scheduled for 10 - 12 June in Tripoli, Libya. The country becomes the
second to develop a new action plan in line with the WHA. Qatar had earlier developed its action
Nadi Al Bassar concludes its 15th annual course
Nadi Al Bassar - a partner NGO of PBU - concluded its 15th Nadi Al Bassar Course in
Hammamet, Tunisia from 30 May - 1 June. It was held in collaboration with MEACO (MEAGS,
MEAVRS, MEACRS), the Faculty of Medicine University of Tunis and the Alexandria University. The
IDB was the major player in sponsoring the meeting.
Participants were from North Africa (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunis) and from East
Africa (Djibouti, Comores Island), West Africa (Mali, Senegal, Niger, Cameroun, Burkina Faso,
Guinea Conakry). The DESSO (Regional Center in Conakry) and IOTA is the Regional Center in Mali
they were both represented as well.
This 15th Nadi Al Bassar Course was attributed to “SITELKOL” the mother of Prof Ridha
Mabrouk the founder of Nadi Al Bassar as from her the inspired the idea of establishing this
organization. So, Dr Ridha Mabrouk was awarded the SITELKOL Award for Life Achievement. Dr
Abdulaziz AlRajhi, President of MEACO, received the Golden Medal of Nadi Al Bassar appreciating his
efforts in the Middle East and Africa and his sustainable collaboration with Nadi Al Bassar.
The scientific program had excellent speakers from North Africa, UK, Italy, France, Belgium and
Egypt. There were wet lab training sessions as well.
66th World Health Assembly: Action Plan for Universal Eye Health 2014-19 adopted
The new global Action Plan for universal eye health 2014-2019
was approved at the 66th World Health Assembly held in Geneva from 20 - 28 May 2013.
His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Regional Chair of the Eastern
Mediterranean Region (EMR) office of International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB),
made the opening supporting statement on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the member States of the EMR.
This was followed by positive interventions from Congo (on behalf of Africa region); Sri Lanka
(speaking on behalf of SE Asia region); Vietnam; USA; Indonesia, Zambia, India; Iran; Malaysia;
Iraq; Bangladesh; Thailand; Italy; Barbados; Japan; Bahrain; Maldives; Surinam; Pakistan and the
long term champions of the new Plan - Australia and Mexico.
A total of 22 countries made positive statements in support. Unlike many of the other items and
resolutions discussed, this resolution was passed without any amendments, which is a testament
to the fantastic work done leading up to the Action Plan.
E.Y.E. (Enhancing Yemen's Eye health) Forum formed
A forum has been formed to address the deteriorating eye health situation in Yemen caused by the
protracted political and civil uncertainties. It is called "Enhancing Yemen’s Eye health" (E.Y.E.)
Forum. The E.Y.E. forum is initiating a 3-year term multi-NGO result-oriented intervention
program to address some of the most urgent eye health need in some districts of the country. The
program was developed in a meeting convened by IAPB-EMR and PBU from 30 April - 1 May 2013 in Dubai.
The meeting was attended by NGOs working or interested in working in Yemen these include
Christofell Blinden Mission (CBM), Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF), Sight Savers International,
Nebras Health Society, AlBasar international Foundation etc. For more information please contact
the PBU office email@example.com.
Low Vision Rehabilitation Course, 18 - 22 May 2013, Jeddah, KSA
A low vision rehabilitation courses is planned for 18 - 22 May 2013. The course is organized by the
Ebsar Foundation, in collaboration with the Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC)
and the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO). The venue will still be at the Crowne
Plaza in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The course will have a faculty of distinguished, multidisciplinary local and international experts
that will provide practical and comprehensive training in the assessment and management of patients
with low vision. The faculty includes Mark E. Wilkinson, Mary Ann Lang, Karen R. Seidman, Harlyne
Knight-Hantman, Sarfaraz Ali Khan, Chris Greening and other local faculty.
The target audiences are ophthalmologists, optometrists, Opticians & occupational therapist. The
course is accredited with 28 CME hours by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. For more
World Sight Day (WSD) 2013
The 2013 World Sight Days theme is "Universal Eye Health". The theme is in line with the much
anticipated World Health Organization (WHO) Action Plan – (Towards Universal Eye Health: Global
Action plan 2014-19) that will be adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2013. The key focus
of the action plan is to promote universal eye health coverage and reduce levels of avoidable
blindness. This year the WSD will take place on Thursday 10 October 2013.
Africa Glaucoma Meeting: one year after
One year ago (April 2012) the PBU in collaboration with the IAPB Africa and Middle East Africa
Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO) organized a meeting to stimulate activities that could improve
the awareness, and management of glaucoma in Africa. The meeting attended by wide spectrum of
stakeholders including Glaucoma experts and public eye heath, NGOs, training institutions,
Professional bodies, WHO Afro, patients group etc., came up with
recommendations and a declaration.
Some modest achievements have been recorded:
- Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology (MEAJO) – a scientific journal of MEACO had made
a special issue on ‘Glaucoma in Sub-Saharan Africa.’ www.meajo.org
- The Community Eye Health Journal of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which
has over 15,000 distribution list recently had an edition on Primary Open Angle Glaucoma.
- A framework for CPD on Glaucoma diagnosis and treatment for ophthalmologists in Africa have
- There are other potential positive outcomes in progress which we will continue to pursue.
PBU organizes Consultative Meeting on Eye Care Services in Yemen
PBU is collaborating with the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, Eastern Mediterranean
Region (IAPB-EMR), in organising a two day consultative meeting with national and international NGO's
currently active in eye care services in Yemen.
The purpose of the meeting, which is scheduled for 30 April - 1 May in Dubai, is to share priority
focus of each organization and map existing capacities so as to identify areas of convergence and
collaboration and avoid areas of duplication. Some of the organisations that will participate include
Fred Hollows Foundation, CBM and Al Basar International Foundation etc.
IAPB to form global RAAB studies database repository
The recent IAPB board meeting in Bangkok, Thailand (7 - 9 April 2013) had agreed to form an
international central repository database to collect data of all RAAB and RAAB DR studies done
globally. This data will be publicly available for all those interested. RAAB is Rapid Assessment
of Avoidable Blindness. It is an easier cost effective population based survey methodology of
accessing the magnitude, and causes of blindness and low vision. It also provides indices for
assessing cataract surgical services. RAAB DR are studies that includes assessment of Diabetic
The role of data in planning or monitoring eye care programs is fundamental to the success of any
eye care programs. This fact has been acknowledged in the draft of the new WHO action plan for
prevention of blindness: Universal Access to eye health: Global action plan 2014-19.
IAPB EMR had conducted several RAABs and RAAB DR studies in the last few years. Furthermore the
region had used RAAB results not only for evidence based planning but also as a strong advocacy
tool to generate more financial and political support for eye health from governments and corporate
bodies. Thus it is expected that this Global repository will improve the generation, sharing, and
utilization of data to improve eye health globally.
Qatar develops new eye health action plan
The State of Qatar will be developing a new action plan for eye health in the country. It can be
recalled that the Executive board of WHO at its meeting in January 2013 had ratified the draft
action plan for ‘Universal access to Eye health: A Global action plan 2014-2019’, this is expected
to be approved by the World Health Assembly in May 2013. The state of Qatar is developing its new
action plan in line with the new WHO action plan. The planning meeting is being organized by WHO-EMRO
and the Qatari Supreme Council of Health. It will take place from 6 - 8 April in Doha. Facilitators
for the workshop are Dr Haroon Awan of Avicenna consulting, Dr Abdulhanan Choudhury of WHO-EMRO
and Dr Mansur Rabiu of IAPB-EMR.
A New Action Plan for Prevention of Blindness: 2014-19 to be ratified by World Health Assembly
The World Health Assembly taking place from 20 - 28 May in Geneva is expected to ratify the New
WHO Action Plan for the Prevention of Blindness – ‘Universal Access to Eye Health: A Global Action
Plan 2014-19’. Earlier in January 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) in its Executive Board
Meeting in Geneva endorsed the New WHO Action plan. During that meeting the IAPB-EMR advocacy efforts
were manifested by the number of EMR countries that contributed significantly to the endorsement.
These countries included Yemen, Morocco, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Other countries that also supported
the action plan were: Mexico, Lithuania, Panama, Seychelles, Cuba, USA, PNG, Myanmar, China,
Australia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Italy, and Thailand.