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:
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.
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
1st International Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Diseases in the Arab World and Middle East, 10 - 12 September 2012, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern
Mediterranean Region, is organizing conference on “Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Diseases”
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 10 - 12 September 2012.
The meeting under the patronage of the custodian of the two holy mosques His Majesty King Abdullah Bin
Abdulaziz Al Saud will have in attendance high-level WHO officials and representatives from ministries of
health, foreign affairs and planning, the League of Arab States, United Nations funding agencies,
programmes and agencies, international financial institutions, development banks and other key
international organizations. The meeting will focus on the implementation of the United Nations (UN)
Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases in the region.
At the conference, the IAPB-EMR and the Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee will be
organizing presentations on the relationship of prevention of blindness control and NCD control.
Jordan Diabetic Retinopathy Project: Ophthalmologists retrained in modern advances in the management of Diabetic Retinopathy
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.
The training included lectures and practice in clinics. It was conducted at the ophthalmology
department of University of Jordan by Prof Muawyah Bdour – a vitreoretinal expert and
Chairman of Ophthalmology Department at University of Jordan and Dr Mohammad Abu Ameerh,
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Jordan.
Further trainings with more practice on laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy were
conducted in June and July 2012.
350 cataract surgeries conducted in Cameroon
Nadi Al Bassar, in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank and Tunisian Agency for
Technical Cooperation, conducted their 6th cataract campaign 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
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 (WHO) Eastern Mediterenean Regional Office 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
CHEF International launches Newsletter
The Comprehensive Health and Education Forum (CHEF) International - a major partner of PBU -
has launched a quarterly newsletter which will be highlighting 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.
for the newsletter.
IAPB 9th GA: A wide range of topics to be covered, 17 - 20 September 2012, Hyderabad, India
The 9th General Assembly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
once again brings together some of the best minds in eye health who will be delivering lectures,
driving discussions and moderating symposia. Speakers include various international experts who
organized theme based sessions, which includes:
The programme will discuss the latest research and broaden knowledge on every important aspect of
the eye care sector and includes topics such as:
- Diabetes Retinopathy – New Paradigms for Management in Areas of Limited Resources
- Upscaling Blindness Prevention Efforts: The advocacy and paradigm shift needed
- Social Entrepreneurship & Eye Care
- Gender & Blindness
- Refractive Error
Click here for more information on the
9th GA, programme, and to register.
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