Hyderabad: The State government in collaboration with private eye-speciality care facilities and organisations involved in public health will launch a screening programme to identify and treat diabetic retinopathy among patients at State-run healthcare institutions.
To begin with, the authorities will launch the initiative in five Basthi Dawakhanas in Hyderabad and five Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities in Rangareddy district. In due course, the screening programme to identify and treat diabetic retinopathy is expected to be scaled-up to other parts.
Screening diabetic retinopathy at the right time has remained a challenge in government hospitals because of lack of integration between diabetic specialists, endocrinologists and ophthalmologists in public health sector.
To address such challenges, the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) for past five years along with other voluntary organisations had provided prevention, screening and treatment facilities to patients in 10 Indian States.
“Apart from screening patients, we provided world class training and equipment, effective advocacy and increasing public awareness about the medical condition. We conducted the screening at State-run Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) clinics,” Director of IIPH-PHFI, Dr GVS Murthy said.
Diabetes retinopathy is a diabetes complication and causes damage to the eye. Due to high blood sugar levels, the blood vessels to the retina are damaged. According to PHFI, 80 per cent of diabetics need adequate management of risk factors including control of hypertension to reduce the risk of diabetes retinopathy.
The screening for diabetes retinopathy was conducted in Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. “The initiative in Telangana will enable us train field level healthcare workers such as ASHA and ANMs who can conduct screening. Government hospitals attract lot of poor patients, widowers, women and elderly and they need immediate care,” Dr Murthy said.