IAPB-EMR celebrates Dr. Hajar's tireless work to build prevention of blindness programmes in Saudi Arabia
Dr. Saad Hajar is currently the National Coordinator of Prevention of Blindness in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). He has been a member of the Saudi National Committee of Prevention of Blindness (NPBC) since 2008.
He was the principal investigator of the three Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) / Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) studies in KSA and successfully secured funds for these studies from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Taif University.
The data generated from these studies were used as advocacy tools to convince MOH decision makers that blindness is an important health problem. A stakeholders meeting was convened to develop a comprehensive DR control programme for Saudi Arabia using the same survey results.
Thanks to this programme and the efforts of Dr. Hajar, the MOH agreed to allocate 10 million Saudi Riyals to fund blindness prevention activities for the first time in 2013. The investment will cover workshops, equipment, development of guidelines and protocols of different eye diseases, promotional materials, IT, data collection and blindness registry. The programmes will gradually start over a period of 5 years.
Dr. Hajar also suceeded in transferring prevention of blindness programmes from the curative medicine department to the noncommunicable diseases department within MOH.
Furthermore, the following other significant accomplishments are also testimony of the commitment and dedication of Dr. Hajar:
– He was head of the World Sight Day Committee from 2009-2011
– He participated in media work promoting awareness on prevention of blindness and eye diseases leading to blindness
– He participated in all IAPB-EMR workshops from 2006-2012
– He attended the 9th IAPB General Assembly in Hyderabad in 2012