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:
The New Action Plan 2014-19 endorsed by the WHO EB
The World Health Organization (WHO) in its Executive Board meeting held on 22 January 2013
in Geneva endorsed the New WHO Action Plan for the Prevention of Blindness - ‘Universal Access
to Eye Health: A Global Action Plan 2014-19’. 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.
…… Meanwhile, Qatar develops new eye health action plan
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.
Human Resource for Eye Heath in Africa getting attention
………… PBU participates in African Human Resource for Eye Health Meeting
PBU was one of the organizations that participated at the recently held workshop on human
resource for eye health (HReH) organized by Sight Savers International in Dar es Salam
Tanzania from 25 - 26 March 2013. The workshop was attended by wide cross section of NGOs, professional
bodies, training institutions and IAPB- EMR. The workshop reviewed the HReH crisis in Africa
and agreed on measures to tackle it using the ‘Appreciative inquiry ‘strategy to map, identify,
develop, agree and sustain efforts for HReH in Africa. The workshop attended by over 20 persons
from different organizations in Africa agreed to form a coalition of all interested organizations
to tackle the problem.
EMR forms ‘Low Vision and Rehabilitation Taskforce’
The IAPB-EMR had established a taskforce to upscale low vision and rehabilitation (LVR) services
in the region. The taskforce is to carry forward the recommendations of a regional workshop on
enhancing LVR services in EMR held in Doha, Qatar from 10 - 12 December. Members of the taskforce are
Dr Ahmed Trabelsi - Chairman, Dr Boshra Elbayoumi, Dr Hassan Minto, Noura Abdullah, Dr Abdulhanan
The Terms of reference of the taskforce includes:
- to prioritize the most effective and doable recommendations (from the Doha workshop recommendations) to be implemente
- to identify practical and effective ways to implement the prioritized recommendations including monitoring,
- to identify resources and partners that can be used to implement the recommendations,
- to implement the prioritized recommendations and
- to serve as reference group for all LVR services in the region.
EMR establishes Trachoma Control Alliance
The Eastern Mediterranean Region accounts for 12% of the global burden of blinding trachoma. It
is likely that some trachoma or complications of trachoma still exists in some 11 countries in
the region. Thus, an Alliance is formed of these countries, key stakeholders including the World
Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, regional and international NGDOs, and
other agencies and organizations interested and involved in trachoma control in EMR. The
activities of the Alliance includes:
- Stimulate and supervise the Trachoma Mapping in EMR countries with pockets of the disease.
- Advocate for and assist in resource mobilization for Trachoma Control Programs in EMR countries.
- Support development of strategic plan for intervention with Integration of neglected tropical diseases within the health policies, giving attention to the inclusiveness of the plan and policies.
- Support the Implementation SAFE strategy in areas with blinding trachoma, giving attention to the inclusiveness of respective programs to the whole community.
- Certify the elimination of blinding trachoma in EMR countries by the year 2020.
- Supervise the surveillance of the disease in EMR countries after 2020.
- Liaise with GET 2020 and other Global Agencies on Trachoma control in EMR.
- Develop a databank of the results of Trachoma Mapping and learnings of implementation.
The Chairman of the Alliance is Dr Babar Qureshi EMR Co-Chair Programs with Dr Mansur Rabiu as the
Secretary- EMR Technical advisor.
PBU/ SCB donated Diabetic Retinopathy Clinic in Irbid, commissioned by Minister of Health
A new diabetic retinopathy clinic in Princess Basma Hosptial, Irbid, Jordan was commissioned by
the Jordan Minster of Health, Dr A Wreiket on 12 February 2013. The new clinic donated by PBU and
Standard Chartered Bank contains modern diagnostic and therapeutic equipment for diabetic
retinopathy control. These included Optical coherence tomography (OCT), laser machines,
fundus camera and fluorescein angiography.
Low Vision Rehabilitation Course, 18 - 22 May 2013, Jeddah, KSA
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.
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