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:
Low Vision and Rehabilitation Course in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, 2 - 6 February 2013
The Ebsar Foundation, in collaboration with the Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC) and the
Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO), invites you to its 5-day intensive course on Low Vision
Rehabilitation which will be held from 2 - 6 February 2013 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A faculty of distinguished,
multidisciplinary local and international experts will lead the training. The target audiences are ophthalmologists,
optometrists, opticians & occupational therapist. For more details, click
EMR Regional Workshop on Low Vision and Rehabilitation Services 10 - 12 December, Doha, Qatar
The PBU in collaboration with the IAPB-EMR concluded a workshop on Low Vision and Rehabilitation (LVR) Services in
Doha, Qatar from 10 - 12 December 2012. The purpose of the meeting was to create awareness about LVR services as
a part of comprehensive eye care and develop a regional strategy for LVR. The meeting was attended by local and
international experts on low vision, the Coordinators for the PB from 19 EMR countries, WHO EMRO, World Blind
Union, professional bodies and many NGOs. Al Noor Institute for the Blind, Doha and Shafallah Foundation Qatar
generously supported the workshop. For the workshop recommendations, click
Saudi Arabia develops strategic plan for the control of diabetic retinopathy
The Saudi Arabian National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC), in collaboration with the
King Saud University (KSU) and Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH), organized a strategic
planning workshop for the control of diabetic retinopathy in the Kingdom. The workshop was held
25 - 26 November 2012 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was attended by regional and international
experts in diabetic retinopathy control, endocrinologists, general physicians, ophthalmologists
and vitreo-retinal surgeons within Saudi Arabia, and MOH officials.
Tanzania Project: PBU sponsors ophthalmologists for fellowships in India
PBU through a funding support of Prince Ahmad Abdulaziz Al Saud is sponsoring 2 ophthalmologists
from the Muhimbili University of Health Sciences Dar es Salam to undertake fellowship training.
Dr Neema Daniel had commenced an 18 month fellowship training in Glaucoma at the prestigious LV
Prasad Eye Institute Hyderabad, India. While Dr Paul Nyaluke will commence a 1 year fellowship
program in Pediatric ophthalmology at the esteem Aravind Eye Hospital Madurai India.
Dr Neema in the clinic
Tanzania: PBU donates ophthalmic equipment to Ophthalmology Department of MUHAS
The PBU in support of the East Africa College of Ophthalmology in upgrading ophthalmology training
in Muhimbili University of Health Sciences (MUHAS) Dar El Salam Tanzania had donated to the
University a number of diagnostic and therapeutic ophthalmic equipments in the last one year.
This includes slit lamp microscopes, operation microscopes, operating tables and supporting
facilities, surgical equipments etc. PBU support to the MUHAS is made possible by a generous
donation from Prince Ahmad Abdulaziz Al Saud from Saudi Arabia.
Some of the donated equipment
Al Basar International Foundation holds Community Eye Health Course in Sudan
Al Basar International Foundation (BIF) held a three days Short course on Community Eye Health
from 21 - 23 November at Makkah Eye Complex, Khartoum Sudan, a hospital owned by BIF. It was
held in collaboration with CHEF International & PBU. 23 participants (Ophthalmologists,
Optometrists & Eye-care Mangers) mostly from Sudan, 2 from Yemen and 1 from Afghanistan
attended the course. During the period also the 3rd batch of Ophthalmic Assistants
and 1st batch of Ophthalmic Technologists trained by Makkah Ophthalmic Technical
College (an institution of BIF) graduated.
Nadi Al Bassar conducts cataract surgery eye camp and training in Cameroon
Nadi Al Bassar in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank and Tunisian Agency for
Technical Cooperation performed the 7th mission in Douala Cameroon. 460 adults with 4
children had their vision restored after cataract surgery. During the camp, 6 young
ophthalmologists were also trained on small incision cataract surgery. The Cameroonian
Minister of Health and the Governor of Douala celebrated the event by field visit.
Some of the children and the Sisters of the church operated with Dr Zbiba
World Sight Day 2012
The Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC) chaired by Prince Abdulaziz
Ahmad Abdulaziz, in collaborations with many institutions, hospitals and eye medical
centers in the Kingdom, conducted the World Sight Day 2012 (WSD2012) on Thursday
11th of October 2012 in three regions of Saudi Arabia. The activities
conducted included: awareness lectures and brochures, free eye examination, exhibitions
showcasing the different eye diseases.
This year CHEF- International, Pakistan celebrated this very significant event with
key focus on creation of public awareness regarding preventable causes of blindness.
All the activities were organized involving eye care teams with the active community
participation. The teams multiple activities like public awareness walk, seminars and
screening of school children for refractive errors or low vision. See
RAAB DR survey in Irbid Jordan
For evidenced-based planning and monitoring the DR project in Irbid Jordan had conducted
RAAB + DR survey a population based survey. A total of 3800 persons 50 years and older
randomly selected had blood sugar test, eye examination and DR grading for the diabetics
among them. The results of the research is being processed.
Health education materials for DR control distributed in Irbid Hospitals
No control of eye complications of diabetics can be achieved unless the public and the
diabetics know about measures to prevent, control and take care of diabetes. In view of that the
DR project in Irbid, Jordan produced posters, pamphlets, rollers and ceiling hangers to educate not only
diabetic patients but also the general public on ways for diabetics to take care of their eyes
to prevent visual loss.
EMR Health Ministers support new action plan and inclusion of PB within WHO priority
The Ministers of Health of the EMR had unanimously accepted a resolution supporting the draft
action plan for prevention of blindness 2014-19 and also the inclusion of Prevention of Blindness
within the WHO priority area of work. This was during the 59th WHO-EMR regional
committee meeting held in Cairo 1 - 4 October. The resolution was submitted by Saudi Arabia and
accepted by the other 22 countries of the region. This was a result of the high level advocacy
effort undertaken by the IAPB-EMR office.
IAPB 9th General Assembly: Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud re-elected as a chair for IAPB-EMR
In recognition of his continuous support and effective leadership in eye care regionally and
internationally, Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud has been re-elected as chair of the IAPB-EMR.
Also, the regional chairs for Africa and Western Pacific were re-elected. But the other four
regions have following new chairs, they were Prof Janos Nemeth for Europe; Prof Louis
Pizzarello for North America; Dr Juan Batlle for Latin America and Dr Taraprasad Das for
South East Asia.
Two persons from EMR received IAPB awards
At the 9th IAPB General Assembly in Hyderabad a number of personalities that
have contributed immensely to eye health and prevention of blindness in their own ways
were honored. Two persons from EMR IAPB received EMR regional awards. They were Dr
Jaouad Hammou, the Moroccan National Coordinator for PB and Dr Rubina Gillani, the
Country Director of Fred Hollows Foundation Pakistan.
Dr Gillani's Representative and Dr Hammou receiving the award
New WHO Action plan being developed
A new action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment for the
period 2014-2019 titled Universal Access to Eye Health: A Global Action Plan, 2014-2019 is
being developed by the World Health Organization. The draft is expected to be approved by
the WHO Executive Board in January 2013 for onward ratification by the World Health Assembly
in May 2013 in Geneva.
1st International Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and NCD in the Arab World and Middle East
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health in collaboration with the WHO Eastern Mediterranean
regional office held a conference on Healthy lifestyles and Non-communicable diseases (NCD)
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 10 - 12 September 2012. The meeting had in attendance high
level WHO officials and representatives from ministries of health, foreign affairs and
planning from Arab countries, UN funding agencies and other key international organizations.
The meeting focused on the implementation of the UN Political Declaration on NCD in the Region.
At the conference the IAPB-EMR and the Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee made
presentations on the relationship of prevention of blindness control/eye health and NCD control.
Jordan DR Project: Ophthalmologists retrained in modern advances in the management of Diabetic Retinopathy
As part of the Diabetic retinopathy control project in Irbid Jordan, being sponsored by the
Standard Chartered Bank and implemented by PBU and the Jordan Ministry of Health, 14
ophthalmologists from hospitals in Irbid received an intensive update course on early
detection and treatment of Diabetic retinopathy from 26 - 28 May 2012.
back to top