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Vision Excellence Awards: Ridha Mabrouk

Prof. Ridha Mabrouk

Prof Mabrouk, now in his 90s, is an ophthalmologist and the founder and first President of Nadi Al Bassar (North African Center for Visual Sciences), an international NGO based in Tunis, Tunisia.Dedicated to improving vision health in the Maghrebian and African countries, Nadi Al Bassar is strengthening regional educational and training centers such as theDiplômed’EtudesSupérieuresSpécialiséesd’Ophtalmologie (DESSO) based in Donka, Conakry. Nadi Al Bassar supports prevention of blindness fundraising effortsto benefit South-to-South cooperation having created the first model, andhas played a major role in establishing blindness prevention programs in Tunisia and other countries inthe region.

A major achievement is the establishment of human resource development programs in 11 Francophone African countries, a major objective of IAPB. Nadi Al Bassarbrings fellows from Francophone African countries to Nadi Al Bassar for training and collaborates with national societies of ophthalmology to increase Francophone membership, offerscientific programs in French, and provide additional Frenchlanguageresources.

Nadi Al Bassar provided continious training of medical and para-medical professionals in their own countries for service delivery including free cataract surgery on the national, regional and international levels reaching 40,000 surgeries. Prof. Mabrouk introduced Low Vision services in the Middle East and North Africa and founded an annual drawing contest for young students on subjects about vision and sight.

Prof. Mabrouk is a member of numerous national, regional, and international associations.In particular, he is a life member of the third World Academy of Sciences, an elected member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, anda member of the BarraquerInstitut.Prof. Mabrouk was active with IAPB for over 30 years and was a faithful member of the IAPB Partnership Committee, the forerunner of the Council of Members, and an early supporter of VISION2020: The Right to Sight.He co-chaired the Eastern Mediterranean Region of IAPB in the early days and participated in all ofIAPB’s major conferences representing EMR and Nadi Al Bassar.

Prof. Mabrouk was the head of the Ophthalmology Department and Faculty of Medicine in Tunis.For more than 40 years, he has led a strategy to fight against blindness, particularly trachoma and cataract, and to provide charity-based educational, medical, scientific and social work without government or political influence.

In 2019, he published his memories entitled “In the service of others”, recounting the challenges met and to come in visual science, medical care, and prevention of blindness within a process of south-south solidarity and cooperation. Prof. Ridha Mabrouk has been a key player in IAPB since its founding representing EMR and Nadi Al Bassar helping to achieve the goals of VISION2020: The Right to Sight since 1999.