Islamabad: (Parliament Times) 14th of November is World Diabetes Day. This year’s focus is on diabetes affecting women during pregnancy (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, GDM). 1 in 7 women are affected by GDM which causes high blood pressure, large birth weight babies and complications during delivery. More than 650,000 women in Pakistan are estimated to have GDM. Many women with GDM further go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
An estimated 8.5 million persons over the age of 20 have type 2 diabetes in Pakistan (IDF 2015) and 1 in 2 people do not know they have diabetes. This can lead to serious consequences such as blindness. There is a strong need to proactively identify persons with diabetes early to limit complications and provide services with comprehensive care.
For World Diabetes Day 2017, three health service networks are collaborating to provide integrated diabetes screening and care: Indus Health Network (IHN), Layton Rahmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT), and Community Health Solutions (CHS).
IHN is Pakistan’s largest network of general hospitals offering tertiary and primary care for free through 12 hospitals in Sindh and Punjab.
LRBT is Pakistan’s largest provider of free eye care with 19 eye hospitals, 52 community eye-care centers and 4 outreach clinics country-wide.
CHS is Pakistan’s largest social enterprise working with General Practitioners (GPs) to make quality care affordable in low-income neighbourhoods through 58 Sehatmand Zindagi Centers.
IHN, LRBT and CHS manage over 15,000 patients with diabetes in Karachi alone. Efforts are underway to expand access to integrated diabetes care to manage 40,000 patients in Karachi during 2018. Similar expansions will follow in other districts in 2019-2020.