RetinaRisk, a HealthTech company founded by Icelandic doctors and scientists, has been awarded a grant of 10 million ISK from the Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund of the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs for a project that aims to revolutionize eye screening for people living with diabetes in India. The grant will enable the company to provide around 200,000 low-income patients in India access to eye screening next year, as the RetinaRisk calculator, that is a first of its kind internationally, can double eye screening capacity in India with its personalized approach.
Today, diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in people of working age around the world, but visual impairment can be prevented in over 90% of cases with early detection and timely treatment. The International Diabetes Association (IDF) estimates that currently there are around half a billion people with diabetes and that this number will exceed 700 million in 2045. In India alone, there are over 70 million people with diabetes, which is expected to reach 125 million by 2045. As today, only a small portion of the Indian diabetic population has access to regular eye screening, increasing capacity and efficiency is of great importance for patients and healthcare providers.
RetinaRisk estimates that around two hundred thousand low-income individuals will gain access to eye screening during the grant period due to increased efficiency provided by RetinaRisk to hospitals, many of which offer around a third of their services to this target group for free. The grant enables the company to set up a local integration and distribution team that will work within and in collaboration with the charity hospital Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, India. The hospital specializes in ophthalmology and provides about 35% of all its services free of charge to low-income populations. Scientifically proven risk assessments such as RetinaRisk, offer healthcare professionals the opportunity to identify high-risk patients in a timely manner and to take necessary steps to prevent vision loss. The risk calculator empowers and motivates patients towards enhanced diabetes control and enables smarter prioritization within the healthcare system.
The RetinaRisk project directly supports several of the UN Sustainability Development Goals, including increased access to healthcare (SDG 3), particularly for low-income individuals (SDG 10) and makes diabetic eye screening more efficient and cost-effective, while preventing people being forced out of the workforce due to blindness (SDG 8/9); and at the same time significantly reduce the carbon footprint with fewer unnecessary doctor's visits (SDG13).
The Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund aims to support Icelandic companies who are interested in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through cooperative projects in developing countries. Further information on the fund is available at www.mfa.is/sdgfund. The next deadline for applications is 3 October 2022.