Use of technology in diagnosis & treatment of diabetes in Pakistan urged
KARACHI: Emphasizing the need for using technology in diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in Pakistan, Vice Chancellor Dow University of Health Sciences Professor Saeed Qureshi Saturday said that besides challenges, COVID-19 pandemic has provided an excellent opportunity to maximize the use of telemedicine in reaching out to patients, who are still undiagnosed but suffering due to lifestyle diseases and conditions like diabetes mellitus. The only way to approach these undiagnosed diabetics is use of technology, especially telemedicine”, Prof. Saeed Qureshi said while inaugurating the first E-Tibb Telemedicine clinic at DUHS Ojha campus. He said that prevalence of diabetes in Pakistan is said to be 17.1 percent which means that there are around 19 to 20 million living with diabetes. Unfortunately, a vast majority of them are undiagnosed and living in rural and far flung areas of the country, he added. The E-Tibb Telemedicine clinic has been established at the National Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology (NIDE) in collaboration with local pharmaceutical firm Pharmevo, which has provided the technological services, computing hardware and mobile phone application as well as other resources to the Dow University to reach out to millions of diabetics in Sindh, Balochistan and other parts of the country, who cannot travel to Karachi on regular basis to consult experts and physicians. Prof. Saeed Qureshi maintained that there are so many undiagnosed patients of diabetes in the country that often surgeons including him have to postpone surgeries after it emerges that blood sugar level of the patients is as high as 500 mg/dL. “Our country is facing an epidemic of diabetes and there is a need to control it by using all the means and resources we have at our disposal including technology”, he added. “But there is a need to educate patients about use of technology for their benefits. A large number of people are using modern cell phones with internet facility but they need to learn about using it for their benefits, especially in diagnosis and treatment of diseases”, he said, adding that media should highlight the importance of technology in health, and well-being of people. Lauding the inauguration of E-Tibb telemedicine facility at NIDE, Prof. Saeed Qureshi said it is the first clinic of its kind in the country that would benefit thousands of diabetic patients who would be consulting expert physicians through their cell phones and added that Dow University would soon resume telemedicine clinics at other departments of the varsity. Director NIDE Prof. Akhtar Ali Baloch said in its initial days, COVID-19 pandemic had created immense hardships for people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) especially diabetes as patients could not approach health facilities and see their consultants but now with the help of telemedicine. - APP  they could talk to consultant diabetologists while sitting at their homes and get advised on managing their blood sugar levels with the help of medicines and lifestyle modification. – APP