The Diabetes Centre and RetinaRisk Launch a Pakistan-Iceland Alliance

Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the working age population worldwide. Vision loss and eventual blindness from diabetic retinopathy is largely avoidable, but this requires greater awareness of the need for early detection and timely treatment. The Retina Risk app can play a crucial role here and help millions of persons living with diabetes save their vision.

As one promising step in this journey, this July, in Islamabad and Reykjavik, Dr. Baber Saeed Khan, CEO of The Diabetes Centre and Silla Jonsdottir, CEO of Retina Risk, signed a Memorandum of Understanding cementing a range of collaborative steps to support the treatment of Pakistan’s burgeoning diabetic population.

The Diabetes Centre is a not-for-profit organization formed to serve all patients regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status or geographic location, with the aim to alleviate human suffering related to diabetes and its complications, especially among those least able to withstand the burden of disease. The Diabetes Centre has been treating diabetes patients and spreading awareness about diabetes in Pakistan since 2012 and has catered over 100,000 patient visits with a fair majority taking subsidized or free treatment. Pakistan is in the top 10 countries of the world with highest diabetes patients with a prevalence rate of 9.8%, which is reaching epidemic proportions.

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The Diabetes Centre has taken on the challenge of dealing with the epidemic of diabetes sweeping through Pakistan. TDC already plays a significant role in promoting diabetes awareness, education, and health care delivery and teeing up self-management for patients, while minimizing the risk of developing diabetes-related complications. These strategies, in a country of over 200 million, align perfectly with Retina Risk’s mission.

Because of this exciting synergy, Retina Risk and The Diabetes Centre have agreed to collaborate to improve the lives of millions of people living with diabetes in Pakistan and to work for the elimination of preventable blindness due to diabetes there. As codified in the MOU, The Diabetes Centre will encourage all its patients to use the Retina Risk app, the innovative new tool which empowers persons living with diabetes to assess and monitor their risk of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy — the leading cause of blindness in the working age population around the globe.

Retina Risk and The Diabetes Centre will also cooperate to translate the app into Urdu and include educational material developed by the Centre for local use. This will reinforce The Diabetes Centre’s ongoing awareness campaigns, which are already paying dividends: nearly 40% undiagnosed cases of diabetes have been discovered during 157 free awareness and screening camps.

Using Retina Risk will allow The Diabetes Centre to identify which patients are at greatest risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, to ensure timely treatment to prevent vision loss. Furthermore, Retina Risk will assist The Diabetes Centre to make diabetic eye screening more cost effective and efficient.

The Diabetes Centre will regularly share feedback from patients that will help Retina Risk to improve the app to meet user demands. Jointly, Retina Risk and The Centre will explore ways to integrate available Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in order to allow for auto-calculation of the risk score.

The Retina Risk App can assist health practitioners and people with diabetes to be more aware of this exploding problem and the simple steps that can reduce the risk of visual impairment. Our partnership with The Diabetes Centre is a major milestone in our important joint journey. We look forward to an inventive, long-lasting and fruitful cooperation.

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