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A new global initiative offers digital support to health workers, enabling quality diabetes care for patients in low- and middle-income countries

The ‘Diabetes Compass’ is initiated by the World Diabetes Foundation and funded by a DKK 100 million donation by Novo Nordisk A/S and the Novo Nordisk Foundation, helping healthcare workers in low- and middle-income countries to deliver the right diabetes care at the right time.

More than 350 million people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) live with diabetes. 77% of these do not receive adequate care. The rise in people living with diabetes is putting immense pressure on healthcare professionals (HCPs) and healthcare systems where resources are scarce.

With a timely diagnosis and proper treatment, diabetes is typically a manageable disease. Yet many HCPs in LMICs lack sufficient skills and resources to prevent, diagnose and treat diabetes.

To address this urgent need, Novo Nordisk A/S and the Novo Nordisk Foundation are making a joint donation of DKK 100 million (USD ~16 million) to the World Diabetes Foundation to kickstart a new global initiative – the Diabetes Compass.

The Diabetes Compass initiative aims to improve the quality of diabetes care in LMICs by providing free, simple digital resources to enable HCPs to overcome challenges when managing diabetes.

The Diabetes Compass is an innovative approach to developing the capability of community and primary level HCPs in LMICs. It will use technology to anticipate HCP learning needs and help them provide personalised care to their patients. While the Diabetes Compass is a global initiative, it is developed and implemented with and for local partners, ensuring that specific needs on the ground are met. The digital resources and tools will be developed jointly with the users based on an understanding of their lived experiences and local realities.

“My own daughter got diabetes. When she was undergoing treatment, I saw that she was not getting the right care. That drove me to wanting to know more about diabetes and how I can assist people with the disease. I would really appreciate to use digital tools to diagnose, manage and follow up with our diabetes patients,” says Doris Macharia, Senior Clinical Officer, Embu Level 5 Hospital – Diabetic Clinic, Kenya.

In 1921, the discovery of insulin revolutionised the treatment of diabetes. Today, technology is driving change in health care.

 “With the Diabetes Compass, we want to focus on providing healthcare professionals with accessible digital tools relevant to their everyday practice. Catering to local environments and considering healthcare professionals as partners, not as students, will be imperative. We are grateful to Novo Nordisk A/S and the Novo Nordisk Foundation for the donation and opportunity to embark on this journey to improve diabetes care in LMICs,” says Leif Fenger Jensen, Managing Director, World Diabetes Foundation.

The Diabetes Compass will leverage emerging digital solutions to find new ways of enhancing the ability of HCPs to prevent, diagnose and manage diabetes, ultimately allowing people with diabetes to live a full life, free of complications.

Digital solutions can enable frontline healthcare professionals to connect to patients and resources in order to deliver the right care at the right time. Our support of the Diabetes Compass reflects Novo Nordisk’s commitment to defeat diabetes and improve access to care,” says Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, Chief Executive Officer, Novo Nordisk A/S.

“Three in four people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries, where healthcare workers often lack the resources to provide diabetes patients with proper care. With the Diabetes Compass and through local partnerships, we aim to provide practical and relevant digital resources and thereby strengthen their ability to deliver the right care at the right time,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Chief Executive Officer, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

To start the work, the World Diabetes Foundation will initiate conversations with partners, frontline HCPs, and people with diabetes in LMICs. These discussions will help develop a holistic understanding of how the Diabetes Compass can target unmet needs and build local implementation partnerships.

The Diabetes Compass is fully aligned with the goals set out by the WHO Global Diabetes Compact by aiming to enhance access to quality care and striving to improve the lives of people living with diabetes.

The Diabetes Compass will be led and anchored at the World Diabetes Foundation.

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Please direct any questions to:

Michael Calopietro
Head of Digital Health Solutions, World Diabetes Foundation
[email protected]
(+45) 30 77 65 39

Gwendolyn Carleton
Communication Manager, World Diabetes Foundation
[email protected] 
(+45) 30 79 43 09

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]