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3rd & 4th quarter of 2013
2nd quarter of 2013
1st quarter of 2013

4th quarter of 2012
3rd quarter of 2012
2nd quarter of 2012
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4th quarter of 2011
3rd quarter of 2011
2nd quarter of 2011
1st quarter of 2011

4th quarter of 2010
3rd quarter of 2010

First Quarter 2011

In This Issue


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What is PBU?

The Prevention of Blindness Union (PBU) is an International union of Nongovernmental Development Organizations working in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) and Africa. It has the following reputable international NGOs and bodies as members:

  • IMPACT-EMR Saudi Arabia
  • AlBasar International Foundation Saudi Arabia
  • Al Noor Foundation Egypt
  • Nadi AlBassar Tunisia
  • CHEF International Pakistan
  • Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND)
  • Islamic Development Bank,(Ex-Officio member)
  • Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology - MEACO
  • WHO EMR. (Ex–Officio member)

The union is under leadership of HRH Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud.

The Vision of PBU is to facilitate the provision of comprehensive eye care to all segments of the society based on the principles of equity and justice.

The Mission of the union is to support, coordinate, collaborate and advocate activities in the field of comprehensive eye care (promotion, preventive, curative and rehabilitation) with all stakeholders (such as Governments, Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDO), regional and international organizations, professional bodies and institutions) in the EMR and Africa.

For more information on PBU please visit: www.pbunion.org

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Al Basar International Training Center graduates first set of ophthalmic assistants

Makkah Ophthalmic Technical College (MOTC) Sudan established in 2007 had graduated its first set of ophthalmic assistants. The MOTC is a division of the Makkah Eye Complex (MEC), Khartoum, Sudan which is one of the many ophthalmic hospitals established worldwide by Al Basar International Foundation - a partner NGO of PBU.

The Ophthalmic Assistant Programme is a 3-year diploma course called Diploma in Ophthalmic Assistant (DOA). It is recognized by the Council of Medical Profession of Sudan. This cadre of eye care workers is highly needed not only in Sudan but many parts of EMR and Africa.

Graduates with the Guest of Honor

Graduates with Guest of Honor and Special Invitees

Thirty graduates made up of 15 males and 15 females received their graduation certificates at the Freedom Hall in Khartoum, Sudan on 6 October 2010. The ceremony was attended by many national and international figures including Mr Sadiq El-Hadi El-Mahdi Advisor to the President of Sudan who was the Chief Guest, Minister for Higher Education, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Sudan, Dr Adel Abdul Aziz Al-Rushood Secretary General of Al-Basar International Foundation (BIF), Prof Ghulamqadir Kazi, CEO Isra Foundation Pakistan, Dr Babar Qureshi CEO CHEF International Pakistan, Dr Haroon Awan a director in Sight Savers International, Dr Shariq Masud, Medical Director of BIF etc.

The Makkah Ophthalmic Technical College also runs a 3-year Diploma of Ophthalmic Technologist (DOT) in addition to many other ophthalmic short courses.

The graduation ceremony was preceded by a full day human resources workshop where local and international experts in human resources development and eye care assessed, discussed and brain storm on the human resources needs for Sudan and the current trends and innovative ideas for human resources development. The workshop also came up with recommendations regarding the ophthalmic workforce need for Sudan and the expected role of different eye health personnel.

PBU congratulates Al Basar international foundation for the attainment of this feat towards bridging the human resource gap in the EMR region.

HR Workshop Participants

HR Workshop participants

Dr Ahmed Trabelsi gets an International Award

Dr. Ahmed Trabelsi Dr Ahmed Trabelsi, President of Nadi Al Bassar Tunisia, Board Member of PBU and Co–Chair of EMR-IAPB will be awarded G. B. Bietti International Award at the II International Symposium on Low Vision Rehabilitation and Visual Ability, organised by IAPB-Italy, 15 - 17 December 2010.

The II International Symposium on Low Vision Rehabilitation and Visual Ability promotes amongst national and international experts, exchange of scientific information on different methods of visual rehabilitation, technological innovation, optical, electronic and informatics instruments and devices for low vision.

Dar es Salam, Tanzania
Muhimbili Eye Department Project update


The PBU/SSI project in Ophthalmology Department of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salam Tanzania (MUHAS) is planned to commence in the first quarter of 2011.

This followed PBU's visit to the MUHAS, inspection of project sites and interaction with major stakeholder’s involved in the implementation of the program. During the visit an all stakeholders meeting was organized by PBU. In attendance were representatives of MUHAS, East Africa College of Ophthalmology (EACO) and Sight Savers International (SSI). The meeting discussed the detailed modalities for the successful execution of the project.

The project which will cost over $470,000 over 3 years may involve eye theatre renovation, purchase of ophthalmic and theater equipments, scholarship for fellows to train in subspecialty and residents to rotate in other EACO institutions, CPD for all EACO fellows etc.


Stakeholders Meeting

Irbid, Jordan
Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program to commence in the first quarter of 2011

The planned Diabetic retinopathy program in Northern Jordan will now commence in the first quarter of 2011. The commencement of the project will be preceded by stakeholder meeting to be held in Amman, Jordan. The purpose of the meeting is to fine tune aspects of the program with inputs from all major stakeholders ranging from professionals, governments, nongovernmental organizations, private institutions, the community etc. The five-year program which will cost about $1.2 million will involve eye health promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services for diabetic retinopathy patients. It is aimed at reduction of the high prevalence of visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy in Northern Jordan. The program is being sponsored by of Standard Chartered Bank and Jordanian Ministry of Health, PBU is the implementing agency with the support of Ministry of Health Jordan.

PBUnion & Jordan


EMR held Leadership Training Workshop for its national coordinators

LDP Jeddah Picture

The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (EMR-IAPB) in collaboration with IMPACT-EMR and the support of the IAPB Headquarters held a leadership and programme management training workshop for the EMR national coordinators (NCs) for the prevention of blindness. WHO-EMRO was also represented in the workshop that was held from 15 - 17 May 2010 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The training workshop was designed to improve the management and planning skills of NCs in the EMR; to enhance their advocacy skills for eye care programs especially as it relates to government agencies and WHO; to improve their communication, negotiating and influencing skills; and to enhance their empowerment, motivation and team work skills.

IMPACT-EMR and Saudi Government to pilot "RAAB+DR" survey methodology in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC), University of Taif and IMPACT-EMR in collaboration with London School of hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) will conduct pilot study to test the new improved methodology for the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) which has been redesigned to include extensive assessment of Diabetic retinopathy. Thus, the new methodology is called RAAB+DR. Similar studies had been piloted in Mexico and South Africa.

The survey will be conducted in Taif District in the Western Region of the Kingdom. It is scheduled to be held in December 2010. The study will not only generate data on blindness, its causes, prevalence of diabetic mellitus, and diabetic retinopathy in study provinces but will also build the capacity of eye care workers (ophthalmologists and allied staff) on this methodology and general survey modalities.


WHO-EMR and EMR to organize regional workshop on Primary Eye Care

The World Health Organization-Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (WHO-EMRO) with the support of IMPACT-EMR and International Agency for Prevention of Blindness-Eastern Mediterranean Region (IAPB-EMR) will be organizing a regional workshop on Primary Eye Care the 1quarter of 2011.

The workshop intends to strengthen primary eye care within primary health in the EMR countries. The objectives of the meeting includes to review the current status of primary eye care services and their integration in the primary health care in EMR Member States; to assess the strength and weakness of primary eye care services within the context of renewal of primary health care by EMR Member States; to present best practices and success stories on the primary eye health provision in EMR; to develop recommendations for the strengthening of primary eye care within primary health care. Regional and international experts on primary health care and eye health will facilitate the workshop which will be attended by all the national coordinators for primary health care and those for eye care in the EMR countries.


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