Sunday, June 13

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Rajhi: Saudi Arabia is a leading country in fighting blindness in the world

Riyadh, President of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Rajhi has underlined the importance of the pioneering Saudi role in supporting bodies and associations working in the field of combating blindness worldwide and putting this file on the agendas of medical conferences and meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Al-Rajhi explained that the IAPB, a non-profit public benefit association registered in England and has a board of trustees that includes representatives from regional presidents, is an incubator for all associations working in the field of combating blindness, and includes representatives from 7 regions, adding that the Eastern Mediterranean region includes all Arab countries (except Algeria), in addition to Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, bringing the total number of countries included to 22.

He stated that the Agency's regional office, based at King Khalid Eye Specialist Hospital, will work to increase cooperation between countries in the region and raise the level of ophthalmology and optometry health services in both the curative and preventive aspects, stressing that the Hospital plays an active role within this scope, with the follow-up and support of the Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and the Hospital's Board.

Dr. Al-Rajhi indicated the office will hold many activities with the participation of the King Khalid Eye Specialist Hospital cadres. The Hospital has over 38 years of experience that will be utilized to support efforts to raise the level of health services for eyes and optometry in the region.

He added that the region needs to exert more efforts and boost cooperation among its representatives, in light of the insufficient information on the causes of visual impairment or blindness in the Middle East, and the lack of information with regards to the rates of diseases and services and their availability, in addition to inaccurate numbers of health practitioners in most countries.

He added that the regional office holds a meeting or workshop twice a year to discuss specific topics in cooperation with the WHO regional office. Specialists from outside and within the region are hosted to discuss developing ophthalmology and optometry services.

Dr. Al-Rajhi said the Agency will cooperate with King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) to provide relief or training services in some countries if the need arises.

It is noteworthy that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a pioneering country in the field of combating blindness worldwide, as the General Assembly of the World Health Organization agreed in 2006 to include combating blindness within its strategic plans and priorities for future work, based on an initiative submitted by Saudi Arabia.

Source: Saudi Press Agency