Pan India course launched to tackle diabetic retinopathy

As diabetes is on the rise globally, more people are exposed to the risk of blindness. There are over 65 million people living with diabetes in India and in response the Trust partner, the Public Health Foundation of India, has launched the first of its kind "Certificate Course in Evidence Based Management of Diabetic Retinopathy".

This unique 4-monthcourse aims to build capacity amongst primary care physicians to address management, counselling, referral and prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy. It is designed, delivered and implemented by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and supported by a grant from The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The course is distributed across 9 states and 10 cities throughout India. Thus far, 185 participants have enrolled; of which, 66% are physicians working in the area of diabetes, and 34% are ophthalmologists

Director of the Indian Institute of Public Health at the Public Health Foundation of India, Professor GVS Murthy said,

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the important causes of preventable blindness especially in the productive years among Indians. The increasing incidence of diabetic blindness is a major public health concern hence there is an urgent need to address this ever increasing health hazard. To manage, treat and to prevent the complications of diabetic retinopathy we need a trained set of doctors who are equipped with the latest technology, and follow the cutting-edge international and national guidelines. At PHFI, IIPH, and our partner organisations Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Education Academy, Aravind Eye Care System, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the endeavour is to help strengthen education, training, and research in the area of public health. The announcement of the 1st Cycle of Diabetic Retinopathy course is a step further to tackle the rising prevalence of diabetes and its related complications, aiming to strengthen the capacity of primary care doctors to deal with the enormous challenges that Diabetic Retinopathy poses, with the ultimate aim of improving the health outcomes of people.

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness world-wide. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when poor control of blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and elevated lipid levels damage the blood vessels in the retina. If untreated, it can lead to irreversible blindness.Diabetic retinopathy can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and studies have shown that nearly all people with type 1 diabetes and up to 80 % of type 2 diabetes will develop diabetes diabetic retinopathy after 15 years without treatment.

The Trust is working to tackle diabetic retinopathy in 11 countries across the Commonwealth. Find out more here.