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:
PBU wishes you and your loved ones a happy and prosperous new year.
IAPB Chairman and CEO visited EMR office
IAPB-EMR Chair Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud and IAPB Chair Mr. McMullan
The Chairman and the CEO of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Mr. Bob McMullan
and Mr. Peter Ackland respectively, visited the IAPB-EMR office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 5 December 2013.
They had discussions with the EMR officials on improving eye health and prevention of blindness activities in
the region and globally.
EMR Regional Chair launches ‘Dine in the Dark experience’ in Riyadh
The Chairman of the IAPB-EMR, HRH Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud launched the ‘Dine in the Dark’
on the 5th of December 2013 in Cristal Restaurant Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is an awareness creation
activity that entails experiencing dining in a total darkness guided and served by visually impaired people.
The event was sponsored and organized by Atheeb Social Development, a non-profit organization, in collaboration with
Dans Le Noir of France and the Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC).
The Chairman and the CEO of IAPB, Mr Bob McMullan and Peter Ackland respectively, participated in this unique event.
Also in attendance were Prince Sultan Salman Al Saud, the President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism, Antiquities
(SCTA). Princess Maha Abdulaziz Ahmad, Chairperson of the Atheeb Social Development organization, other members of the
Saudi royal family, high government officials and the media representatives.
GCC Forum on Avoidable Blindness (GFAB) formed by Sightsavers and PBU
Sightsavers Middle East and PBU launched the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Forum on Avoidable Blindness. The Forum will
serve as a regional platform for stronger collaboration between foundations and NGOs from the region to pool their resources
and streamline their activities towards a better impact on prevention of blindness in the region.
The official launch of the Forum organized in collaboration with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness –
Eastern Mediterranean Region (IAPB-EMR) was held in Dubai on 30 October 2013. The event had in attendance several
organizations working in the field of prevention of blindness, representing 12 countries.
The Forum, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, was attended by HRH Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al
Saud, Chairman of PBU.
PBU announces ‘Ahmad bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud initiative’ to treat 10,000 people
The Chairman of PBU, Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Abdulaziz Al Saud had announced a new initiative for
ocular health interventions for 10,000 people in Africa over one year. The Chairman announced the initiative at the
launching of the GCC Forum for Avoidable Blindness in Dubai in October 2013. Details of the initiative to be undertaken
by PBU partners will be announced later.
EMR to collate data on eye health human resources across the region
IAPB-EMR with special grant from its Chairman, Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud, will be undertaking
a baseline assessment of all available eye health human resources in the 22 EMR countries. This was announced at the
60th WHO-EMRO regional committee meeting held in Muscat, Oman in October 2013. This data lacking in many
countries will be particularly useful for development of new national action plans in line with the new WHO Global
Action Plan 'Universal Eye Health 2014-2019'. The exercise will be organised by the EMR Human resource working group.
Egypt and Jordan develop national eye care plan
The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population in collaboration with WHO-EMRO and IAPB-EMR is developing a new action
plan for eye health in Egypt. This is in compliance with the recent World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution 66.4 requesting
countries to implement the actions in the new WHO Global Action Plan for Eye Health: Towards Universal Eye Health 2014-19.
A planning workshop for developing the plan was held in Cairo, Egypt from 12 - 14 November 2013. In a participatory method,
workshop participants identified eye health priorities in alignment with Egypt’s national policies and the WHO health
system building blocks.
Also Jordan developed its national action plan after a strategic planning workshop held in Amman in October 2013. The plan
was developed by the Jordan Ministry of Health and WHO-EMRO in conjunction with IAPB-EMR.
EMR Trachoma Alliance inaugural meeting
The EMR Trachoma Alliance held its inaugural meeting from 15 - 16 December 2013 in Dubai, UAE. The meeting
which was blessed by the attendance of the Chair IAPB-EMR Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud was attended by National
Coordinators for prevention of blindness and GET 2020 Coordinators from EMR countries with trachoma or recent past evidence
of the disease. Representatives from local and international NGOs working on trachoma in the EMR (including AlBasar
international, CHEF, CBM, FHF, Sightsavers, ICTC, Global trachoma mapping project etc) also attended in addition to experts
in trachoma control. The meeting has among its objectives to collate and review available mapping data on trachoma and
status of control in the EMR, to develop an action plan highlighting the priority countries/districts/ Governorates for
mapping and SAFE strategy intervention and to develop a coordinating mechanism for all the stake holders.
Jordan: 21 ophthalmologists, 36 family physicians trained on updates on Diabetes, Diabetic retinopathy diagnosis and treatment
As part of the ‘Seeing is Believing’ Diabetic retinopathy program in Irbid Jordan, a series of training for
21 ophthalmologists from Irbid hospitals and AlBasheer hospital Amman was conducted over a period of one month (September 30 -
October 30). The training included diabetic retinopathy detection, grading, treatment using laser or intra-vitreal injections,
sessions also on use of OCT and its interpretation was conducted. The training included practical sessions. It was held at
University of Jordan Amman by experts in the field of Diabetic retinopathy care. Also, 36 family and general physicians were
trained at the Princess Basma teaching hospital Irbid.
PBU Board Member - Prof. Mohammad Daud Khan receives the 2013 AAO International Blindness Award
The 2013 recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) International Blindness Prevention Award, is Prof.
Mohammad Daud Khan. Prof. Khan is board member of PBU and the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Comprehensive Health &
Education Forum (CHEF) International.
This award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention of blindness or restoration of
sight worldwide and was presented at the Opening Session of the AAO’s Annual Meeting on Sunday, 17 November 2013.
Saudi Arabia develops plan for National ROP screening
The Saudi Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Saudi National Prevention of blindness Committee
held a workshop on 3th and 4th of November 2013 in Riyadh to develop a national retinopathy of
prematurity (ROP) screening program. The workshop was attended by local and international experts in ROP inducing from
ROP programs of UK, USA, New Zealand and India.
IAPB-EMR nominates Dr. Saad Hajar as Eye Health Leader
Dr. Saad Hajar was identified by IAPB-EMR to be one of tomorrow’s leaders who will lead the eye health sector in the future,
in recognition of his contribution to the prevention of blindness in Saudi Arabia.
The celebration of the 2013 Eye Health Leaders was concluded in a ceremony at the IAPB Council of Members in Brighton, UK
on 17 September 2013.
Dr. Hajar is currently the National Coordinator of Prevention of Blindness in Saudi Arabia. He is also a member of the
Saudi National Prevention of Blindness Committee (NPBC) since 2008.
back to top