In This Issue
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:
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 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
Dr Ahmed Trabelsi gets an International Award
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.
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.
EMR held Leadership Training Workshop for its national coordinators
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
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