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World Diabetes Day 2022: Unlocking (DTx) – The Diabetic Patient Support App

News & Events > News & Stories > World Diabetes Day 2022: Unlocking (DTx) – The Diabetic Patient Support App

Its very unfortunate that in the 21st century there are still huge gaps in the healthcare systems in low-to-middle income countries. Medical gaps ranging from non-existing healthcare services to low ratio of healthcare workers to population. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated those gaps even more.

However, with adapting Digital technology there is a huge potential to improve countries’ responses to infectious-disease threats and to strengthen primary healthcare, such as Diabetic care.

It is currently estimated that 80 per cent of annual mortality related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to the WHO. The prevalence of diabetes is high across the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, constituting an increasing public health problem. Lebanon is one of the countries in the region that has experienced a sharp rise in the burden of NCDs, including diabetes, over the last decade. In Lebanon, the estimated prevalence of diabetes in 2021 for people aged 20-79 years is 396 per 1000 people, and it is predicted to increase to 469 per 1000 by 2030, according to data from the International Diabetes Federation

Due to socio-economic factors and the complex nature of diabetes management adherence to medication among people living with diabetes in low-resource settings is suboptimal. Individuals living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are also at increased risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. These compounding factors lead to poor glycemic control, clinical outcomes, and quality of life. There is a clear demand for improved systems that provide support to patients living with diabetes to increase their ability to confidently self-manage their condition and improve their treatment experience and their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Digital Therapeutics (DTx) for Diabetes case, initially launched by the MSF Sweden Innovation Unit (SIU) and the Operational Centre Geneva (OCG) in 2021 in collaboration with NCD clinicians and patients in Greece and Lebanon clinics, aiming to both deliver a patient support intervention and understand  how DTx may supplement current MSF practices. More specifically this project seeks to:

  1. Assess the needs of patients living with Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) who are undergoing treatment in MSF clinics in the Bekaa Region, Lebanon.
  2. Co-create a patient support intervention including a DTx and clinician management dashboard alongside patients, their caregivers, and MSF clinical and operational experts.
  3. Implement an intervention which integrates with the MSF Lebanon system to build patient understanding and confidence in self-management practices.
  4. Generate evidence of patient-perceived quality of care (QoC) and patient outcomes.
  5. Establish a replicable pathway for scaling DTx interventions across MSF and beyond in humanitarian and global health contexts.

MSF has an immense opportunity to improve health access and quality of care through patient-centred digital health interventions such as DTx. We believe that evidence-based health solutions can provide a new perspective and lead to big improvements in a healthcare system to provide access to safe, effective and affordable medical services.

MSF Intervention amid the war on Gaza