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2010 and 2009

Libya develops national eye health action plan
WHO Libyan Ministry of Health

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 plan.

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.

Nadi Al Bassar

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.

Nadi Al Bassar

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.

Prince Abdulaziz making the intervention

E.Y.E. (Enhancing Yemen's Eye health) Forum formed
EYE for Yemen

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 info@pbunion.org.

Low Vision Rehabilitation Course, 18 - 22 May 2013, Jeddah, KSA
Ebsar logo NPBC Logo MEACO logo

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 details click here.

World Sight Day (WSD) 2013
World Sight Day Logo 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. http://www.cehjournal.org
  • A framework for CPD on Glaucoma diagnosis and treatment for ophthalmologists in Africa have been developed.
  • There are other potential positive outcomes in progress which we will continue to pursue.

PBU organizes Consultative Meeting on Eye Care Services in Yemen
IAPB Logo 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 retinopathy.

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
Qatari Supreme Council of Health WHO LOGO

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
World Health Organization Logo 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.

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