Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1 May 2017: Today we celebrate the recognition of Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute, at the recent Saudi Ophthalmology 2017 conference for his continuing work in preventative ophthalmology, particularly in the areas of avoidable childhood blindness and cataract.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Ahmad Al Saud, President of the Saudi Ophthalmology Society, presented Prof Naidoo with the distinguished Prevention of Blindness (POB) Shield Lecture award. The award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the prevention of blindness and vision impairment in their country or globally. The lecture is a feature of the internationally recognized event, supported by the Saudi Ophthalmology Society, which attracts over 1,500 attendees each year. As the awardee Prof Naidoo presented on his novel research and public health optometry work.
Prof Naidoo is founder and chair of African Vision, which has brought to together various stakeholders to address the backlog of cataract services in South Africa, specifically in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
He is also the initiator and Campaign Director for Our Children’s Vision, a global campaign working to upscale, accelerate and expand access to eye health services to more children, in more locations. By the end of 2016 the campaign had, through its coalition of partners, reached 10 million children – an amazing milestone and great achievement for global child eye health.
Our Children’s Vision operates as a global community of dedicated practitioners, governments, civil society, not-for-profit organisations and donors who are driven to mobilise resources, networks and know-how to impact the lives of millions of our children.
“The consequences of a child not being able to see clearly cannot be underestimated,” explained Prof Naidoo. “These children are often misunderstood as being unintelligent, un-athletic, and introverted. When in reality they are simply unable to see well enough to get involved and enjoy the things kids love to do.”
This recent industry honour follows closely behind the Henry B. Peters Memorial Award that Prof Naidoo received in Anaheim last year November 2016, from American Academy of Optometry for his exemplary contributions to public health and environmental vision over many years.
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About Professor Kovin Naidoo, OD MPH PhD FAAO
Professor Kovin Naidoo is CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute. He is an academic, former anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner, optometrist and an internationally celebrated public health leader. His professional life has been dedicated to delivering eye care to people in need through research, public health and entrepreneurship.
He has served as the Head of Optometry at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa and as the co-founder and CEO of the African Vision Research Institute. Kovin was a co-founder of Clear Vision Optical franchise and has been on numerous boards throughout his career including most recently the Vision Impact Institute.
He has served in many elected/voluntary positions including Africa Chair of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, trustee of VISION 2020: Right to Sight, a member of the World Council of Optometry Governing Board and exec, and member of the World Health Organization Refractive Error Working Group. He is founder and Chair of African Vision which is establishing cataract surgical services in the public sector. He also chairs the SA Red Cross Air Mercy Services Board of Trustees.
Professor Naidoo is a Fulbright Scholar and was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2006 for his social entrepreneurial efforts in addressing the needs of those less privileged. He was African Optometrist of the Year in 2002 and named International Optometrist in 2007. He was jointly awarded with Professor Brien Holden the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Award for Africa 2010, at the regional World Economic Forum in Tanzania because of his ability to merge his business acumen with social causes.