Jenni Lillingston on behalf of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Global Health Program





To establish a sustainable mobile diabetic retinopathy screening program in three districts (four clinics) in Timor Leste, estimated to benefit around 800 patients per year


Project details

Timor Leste has a population of about 1,300,000. A nationwide rapid assessment of avoidable blindness (RAAB) in 2017 reported the prevalence of visual impairment (VI) in Timor Leste still remains high. Furthermore, the country is now experiencing a substantial increase in diabetes mellitus and subsequent diabetic retinopathy, with a recent hospital based pilot survey estimating the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy amongst known diabetics at 29.46%. Currently, there are no screening programs for diabetic retinopathy, disease awareness is low and retinopathy is often advanced at the time of diagnosis.

However, this is changing with introduction of a vitreoretinal service in Dili for the medical and surgical management of diabetic eye disease. In order to screen and refer patients for medical management, this project will establish a diabetic retinopathy screening program in four districts in  Timor Leste using portable, affordable fundus cameras, estimated to benefit around 800 patients per year (based on current diabetes assessments). The initiative will train local personnel to screen and raise awareness of the ocular complications associated with diabetes and will furthermore establish a data-base of diabetic eye disease which will be integrated with medical patient databases in the country.


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