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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 13  |  Page : 12-15

Overview and project highlights of an initiative to integrate diabetic retinopathy screening and management in the public health system in India


1 International Centre for Eye Health, Clinical Research Department, London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 International Centre for Eye Health, Clinical Research Department, London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
3 Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
4 India DR Program Implementation

Correspondence Address:
Dr. G V S Murthy
Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, ANV Arcade, 1 Amar Cooperative Society, Kavuri Hills, Madhapur, Hyderabad - 500 033, Telangana

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1964_19

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Purpose: Diabetes is a public health concern in India and diabetic retinopathy (DR) is an emerging cause of visual impairment and blindness. Approximately 3.35–4.55 million people with diabetes mellitus (PwDM) are at risk of vision-threatening DR (VTDR) in India. More than 2/3 of India's population resides in rural areas where penetration of modern medicine is mostly limited to the government public health system. Despite the increasing magnitude, there is no systematic screening for the complications of diabetes, including DR in the public health system. Therefore, a pilot project was initiated with the major objectives of management of DR at all levels of the government health system, initiating a comprehensive program for the detection of eye complications among PwDM at public health noncommunicable disease (NCD) clinics, augmenting the capacity of physicians, ophthalmologists and health support personnel and empowering carers/PwDM to control the risk of DR through increased awareness and self-management. Methods: A national task force (NTF) was constituted to oversee policy formulation and provide strategic direction. 10 districts were identified for implementation across 10 states. Protocols were developed to help implement training and service delivery. Results: Overall, 66,455 PwDM were screened and DR was detected in 16.2% (10,765) while VTDR was detected in 7.5%. 10.1% of those initially screened returned for the next annual assessment. There was a 7-fold increase in the number of PwDM screened and a 7.6-fold increase in the number of PwDM treated between 2016 and 2018. Conclusion: Services for detecting and managing DR can be successfully integrated into the existing public health system.


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