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Innovative Solutions, Pressing Challenges. Managing Diabetes Complications in low-resource settings. Insights from the DR sector

Nov 12, 2019

Eighty percent of people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries, where health systems are not equipped to respond to this growing epidemic and few people can access the care they need.

Within this context diabetes and its complications present a tremendous and growing threat to health and human development and is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.

To address this crisis, new and proven approaches are required in the management of diabetes complications within these challenging environments defined by low resources, limited investment and minimal health infrastructure.

Within diabetic retinopathy care we’ve seen an increase in innovative solutions in these contexts ranging from the implementation of artificial intelligence aided screening, instant messaging mentoring for clinicians and task sharing and task shifting to ensure system wide care is optimized.

According to the WHO World Report on Vision 146 million people have diabetic retinopathy, with 45 million having vision threatening diabetic retinopathy. By 2040 it is anticipated that 70 million people will have vision threatening diabetic retinopathy .

How can we as a community respond to these pressing challenges in diabetic retinopathy care?


In this discussion, members are asked:

  1. What are some of the innovative solutions that you have implemented or seen implemented to manage diabetic retinopathy in low resource settings?
  2. What was the decision making process used by the implementers to identify this as the most appropriate solution?
  3. How can integrated models of DR care reduce costs, utilise available resources and increase impact?
  4. What are some of the determinants of success or failure when seeking to implement innovative solutions for managing DR in low resource settings?
Additional readings:

Global Diabetic Retinopathy Advocacy Initiative. Integrated care for diabetes and eye health: A global compendium of good practice. Melbourne, Australia, 2018.

International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, International Council of Ophthalmology, World Council of Optometry and International Diabetes Federation. Strengthening health systems to manage diabetic eye disease: Integrated care for diabetes and eye health. 2017

International Diabetes Federation and The Fred Hollows Foundation. Diabetes eye health: A guide for health care professional. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2015.


Information about the discussion leader

David Faulmann is the Global Advocacy Adviser for The Fred Hollows Foundation - an international development organisations that works in more than 25 countries around the world to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment.  In his role he advocates for change in global health policy at the United Nations and World Health Organisation levels as well and within the global health community. During his time in the international development sector, David has consulted to the Australian government on its foreign aid strategy, advised the Asian Development Bank on its investment strategy, represented the United Nations Development Programme in the Asia Pacific region and has consulted to the United Nations Environment Programme. He is experienced in developing and delivering global advocacy and policy initiatives together with some of the world’s leading companies, NGOs, multilateral institutions and donor programs.

This is the eleventh in a series of discussions introducing some of the programme sessions that will be featured at the IDF Congress 2019 in Busan, Korea, 2-6 December 2019.