MEACO-ICO Advisory Leadership Group

Advisory Leadership Group for Sub-Saharan Africa

The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO) are both collaborators in the commitment to help strengthen ophthalmology and enhance eye care, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.


To that end, at the end of March 2007, the ICO and MEACO organized a meeting of an “Advisory Leadership Group for Sub-Saharan Africa” in Dubai during the MEACO International Congress.


  • Enhancing Subspecialty Training
  • Enhancing Residency Education
  • Equipment and Materials for Training and Practice
  • Advocacy for Increased Support for Eye Care
  • Society Development/Continuing Professional Development


Since then, each working group has evaluated what could be done in their area and defined proposed priorities for action prior to March 2008. Participants in the meeting in Dubai felt that there was great potential for strengthening ophthalmology and improving eye care in Sub-Saharan Africa if the enthusiasm and momentum from Dubai could be maintained. To do that, they agreed, it would be critical to have a follow-up meeting of the Group within the following six to nine months.


2nd Advisory Leadership Group Meeting

The 2nd meeting of Advisory Leadership Group was held from 27th to 28th of October last 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya, entitled “Focus on Results”. The two-day meeting took place in Sarova Panafric Hotel, Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi. MEACO and ICO Working Groups and major participants from Sub-Saharan Africa Working Groups attended the meeting.


The MEACO’s commitment to Africa was conveyed by Dr. Abdulaziz AlRajhi, President of MEACO after an ardent welcome given by Dr. Bruce Spivey, President of ICO.


The first day meeting covered “Perspectives on Leadership and Lessons Learned” and “Leadership Development”. Working Group Reports and Initiatives are “Society and Professional Development Working Group”, “Equipment and Materials for Training and Practice Working Group”, “Advocacy for Increased Support for Eye Care Working Group”. These working groups define strategies and short-term objectives facilitated by respective members of the working group.


The second day meeting covered “Efforts to Enhance Ophthalmic Education in North Africa” by Prof. Amel Ouertani, Vice President of MEACO. The “Definition of an Action Plan and it’s Training for Leadership Development” were studied and were set to accomplish objectives. The Working Groups reports and action plans were reviewed on case basis, namely, “Subspecialty Development Working Group”, “Enhancing Residency Education Working Group”, “Society and Professional Development Working Group”.


The meetings were facilitated by ICO Executive Director, Mr. William Felch and participates were Drs. BGK Ajayi, Dan Kiage, Femi Babaloa, Fitsum Bekele, Mansur Rabiu, Kunle Hassan, Grace Mutati, Bo Wiafe, Ciku Mathenge, Andries Stulting, Ahmed Trabelsi, only to name a few.


3rd Advisory Leadership Group Meeting

The 3rd meeting of Advisory Leadership Group was held last 13th of March in Drakensberg, South Africa, entitled “Workshop on National Advocacy”. The meetings took place in Champagne Sports Resort, Drakensberg, South Africa in conjunction with the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa (OSSA) annual meeting.


An introduction on “Objectives and Agenda for the Workshop” was delivered by Prof. Amel Ouertani, Vice President of MEACO who also talks about “International and MEACO Initiatives: WHO/IAPB/VISION 2020” and “How MEACO is Addressing the Realities” was presented by Dr. Abdulaziz AlRajhi, President, MEACO. “The Need for Advocacy: Unmet Public Need for Eye Care” was delivered by Dr. Daniel Etya’ale, WHO VISION 2020 Coordinator for Africa, and Chair of the ICO/MEACO Advisory Leadership Group.


The meetings encompass relevant issues on major influences and decision makers concerning eye care. The group tackled aim and results, strategies and resources required for the advocacy at the national level in Sub-Saharan Africa. The evaluation of plans and progress of the Advisory Leadership Group Working Group were also reviewed.


The agenda was divided in subjects, mainly, “International and Supranational Advocacy”, “Advocacy in Sub-Saharan Africa” in which Bill Felch facilitated the discussion on “Primary Results to Obtain from Advocacy at the National Level in Sub-Saharan Africa”, “Strategies and Resources for National Advocacy”. Discussions were incorporated over the meeting in which all participants are able to give their views and raise concerns on relevant issues.


On the whole, the objective is to effectively unite international and regional initiatives for the advocacy of eye care which is an on-going process of triumph and success.


4th Advisory Leadership Group Meeting

The 4th ALG meeting was held in the commercial Nigerian city of Lagos from 24-27 October. The meeting commenced with a welcome address by Dr. Bruce Spivey – the President of ICO and Dr. Abdulaziz Alrajhi – The President of MEACO. The progress of the ALG so far and the expected future of the group were reviewed by Daniel Etya’ale of World Health Organization. As a follow up to that, Mr. Bill Felch- the executive director of ICO made a presentation of ‘From Vision to Reality: The Essentials of Strategic Planning.’ He took participants through the process of defining vision for ophthalmology and eye care in Sub Saharan Africa and also defining vision for the leadership group.


The five ALG working groups then presented their activities and progress. Each of the working groups worked out its plans for the next 6 months. Discussions were held on hoe to effectively evaluate the success of the groups and the future of the working groups.


The training workshop on ‘team building and managing people’ with Tony Maynard that started in the last meeting continued. Participants presented their experiences with the practical application of previous training. Further presentations on strategies and models of effective leadership in managing people were discussed. Case studies of other initiatives on leadership and management of people were presented by Dr. Mansur Rabiu, Dr. Hannah Faal and Prof Andries Stulting.


A workshop on developing sustainable ophthalmology group practices was held with presentations on different models and experiences of sustainable practices dr Dr. Kunle Hassan, Dr. BGK Ajayi, Dr. Stephen Akafo and Dr. Ayman Salah.


The 4th ALG meeting concluded that the training offered to participants and the opportunity to network with each other in this previous meetings have been of great value. However it was agreed that after the next step of leadership training planed for the 10th MEACO meeting in Bahrain, the ALG group should take responsibility for its own direction and management with the continuing support of ICO and MEACO. The group is expected to act as multiplier and catalyst for development of other leaders.


5th Advisory Leadership Group Meeting

The 5th meeting of the Advisory leadership group (ALG) for Sub- Saharan Africa was held on 24-26 of March in Bahrain during the 10th MEACO congress. As usual the meeting was opened with a welcome address by the President of the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) Dr Bruce Spivey and Dr AbdulAziz AlRajhi- President MEACO. The progress and future of the group was highlighted by Dr Daniel Etya’ale, ICO board member and WHO VISION 2020 coordinator for Africa.


An extensive workshop was held on ophthalmologic society development during which presentations and discussions were held on why we need societies, what makes societies effective, potential functions of societies and models of effective societies, resources for societies including a case study on the East Africa society- OSEA. There were discussions on how to organise society congresses and meetings in Africa with lessons on key ingredients, strategies and best practices from the American Academy of Ophthalmology experiences. The presenters for these sessions included Bill Felch of the ICO, Dr Femi Babalola of the Nigerian society, Dr Abdulaziz AlRajhi of MEACO, Dr BGK Ajayi of the Nigerian society, Dr Dan Kiage of East African Society, Debra Rosencrance, AAO Vice President for meetings and exhibits, Andries Stulting of the South Africa Society.


In continuation of the leadership training for the ALG, a thrilling workshop on time management was conducted by Magdi Ibrahim, a Professor of Business Management at the American university of Cairo. Another exciting training workshop on operational research and proposal development was conducted by Dr Babar Qureshi and Prof Daud Khan both from CHEF International- a Pakistan based NGO. The workshop included discussions on successful models and criteria for success of a proposal.


During this meeting there was a practical demonstration on the use of broad online educational resource of the American academy –O.N.E network. The Vice President of the Academy for Global alliance- Jane Aguirres and the Editor of the O.N.E Karl Golnik demonstrated to the participants the effective use of the O.N.E network.


The ALG working groups also presented their progress reports.


This meeting being the last for the pioneer ALG members, four members of the group were selected to chart the new direction and future of the current and future members. A major challenge the group would have to address is how to harness the linguistic diversity of Sub-Saharan African countries so as to speak with one voice within MEACO and other professional fora.


The group will be led by Dr Kunle Hassan of Nigeria. Other members are Dr Amir Bedri, Dr. Samira Soni and Dr Henry Nkumbe. Finally members gave valedictory remarks in which they expressed their gratitude to ICO and MEACO for supporting the group in the last 2 years. Members pledged to use the knowledge, experience and network acquired to improve ophthalmology training and practice in Africa.

MEACO Invitation to participate at the MEACO 2016 Congress in Bahrain

The Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO) is pleased to announce its XIII International Congress which will be held from 4 – 8 May 2016 at the Bahrain International Exhibition Center in Manama, Bahrain. This congress is the largest ophthalmic meeting in the Middle East and Africa regions. We look forward to the participation of ophthalmologists and eye care professionals from the MEACO regions as well as other parts of the world.

Please click the invitation from the MEACO President.

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