According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 700,000 people are living with diabetes in Kenya, but only one in four are diagnosed. Untreated, diabetes can lead to severe complications affecting the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and eyes. Novo Nordisk are therefore promoting early screenings in order to detect and manage these complications early on in order to prevent them from developing into severe health conditions.
In the African region, many people have limited access to care due to long distances, modest incomes, and inadequate health care systems. Training of healthcare professionals and setting up an innovative distribution chain can improve the current situation.
In cooperation with Novo Nordisk, our Kenyan team set out to create awareness about eye screening and diabetes complication in hospitals and rural areas. RetinaLyze System can aid in creating a more innovative distribution chain, because we are able to screen for Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) – one of the complications affecting the eyes – in a fast and effective manner.
RetinaLyze is a cloud-based real-time eye screening software, which is able to detect signs of DR from a photo of the retina – in a matter of seconds. It enables optometrists and other eye care professionals to provide a professional service – from taking the photo, to a dialogue about the recommended next steps based on the results of the screening.
The system is as reliable as human screenings, and is easy to implement and operate. It has a built-in collaboration with eye specialists, who respond directly in the system by recommending next steps based on the findings.
Our Kenyan team set out to screen members of the general population in two towns in Kenya – Kakamega and Lugari. A great deal of interest was sparked, which resulted in large lines at the screening sites.
The screening results were shocking for many of the people who showed up for free screenings in the two towns. Many had noticed problems with their eyesight, but none were aware of the severity. In Kakamega 112 people were screened, and 83.6% of these had complications affecting their eyes. In Lugari 68 patients were screened, and 58.8% of these had complications affecting their eyes.
The screening events were hosted in collaboration with hospitals either on location or nearby. This ensured that we could help the patients throughout the entire process – from screening to treatment. All patients with complications were referred to an ophthalmologist and hospital for further treatment and care.
 International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 6th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2014 update