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Vision Excellence Awards: Abdulaziz Ibrahim AlRajhi

Dr. Abdulaziz Ibrahim AlRajhi is the Chief Executive Officer and Senior Consultant in Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (KKESH). As a passionate advocate for equitable access to eye health and prevention of blindness, Dr. AlRajhi has had a distinguished career in the public, private and non-profit sectors, on a national, regional, and global scale. His experience in ophthalmology, organizational development, health management and social development programs, combined with his focus on results and quality and his refusal to shy away from challenges, have led to many achievements in eye health and VISION 2020.

Dr. AlRajhi completed a joint residency training program at King Saud University (KSU) and KKESH in 1996. He stayed at KKESH to take up the fellowship in Cornea and Refractive Surgery in 1997 and eventually became the Director of the Out-Patient Clinic and Senior Consultant in Cornea and Refractive Surgery in 2005.

During this time, Dr. AlRajhi became increasingly involved in organizing and participating in international workshops and meetings on the prevention of blindness. He co-chaired the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), working closely with HRH Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad bin Abdulaziz AlSaud, Chair of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). He collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) in a series of meetings and organized the 7th General Assembly of the IAPB held in Dubai in 2004 – one of the most successful events in IAPB history.

Between 2006 and 2009, Dr. AlRajhi spearheaded a campaign by the EMR team to prioritise the prevention of blindness in WHO strategy plans. This resulted in the approval of two WHO resolutions: Prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment (WHA59.25) and the Action Plan for Prevention of Blindness (PB). These were instrumental in adding eye care to national and global health agendas and have formed the basis of the major changes we have observed in the advancement of eye health.

In 2007, Dr. AlRajhi was elected as the President of the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO). He also established the Prevention of Blindness Union (PBU), was a board member of the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and served as Vice President for one term. Following his landmark hosting of the World Ophthalmology Congress in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 2012, Dr AlRajhi was honoured to accept the Presidency of WOC2014 and organized the largest ophthalmic meeting ever held in the Middle East and Africa region, reaching over 10,000 participants.

In 2014, Dr AlRajhi joined the Magrabi Hospitals, returning to KKESH to take up his current position in 2017.
Dr AlRajhi has received a number of awards from his peers and the wider ophthalmologic community to recognize his outstanding career in eye health. These include the IAPB Global Achievement Award (2008), SOS Gold Medal (2013), AAO International Secretariat Award (2015), AAO Achievement Award (2015), GOH Naumann Award for Leadership in Global Eye Care (2018) and others from Kuwait, UAE, Tunis, Morocco, Lebanon and the Mediterranean Ophthalmic Society.

Dr AlRajhi: “One of the great achievements of Vision 2020 has been the global commitment to eye health which has been strengthened by the World Health Assembly resolutions and implementation in country. Therefore, today at least we stand in almost all the countries with comprehensive eye care being scaled up nationally.”