KARACHI: The E-Tibb Telemedicine clinic has been established at the National Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology (NIDE) in collaboration with local pharmaceutical firm Pharmevo, to reach out to millions of diabetics in Sindh, Balochistan and other parts of the country.
Chancellor Dow University of Health Sciences Prof. Saeed Quraishy 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 the 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.
Saeed Quraishy said, “There is a need to educate patients about the 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.”
Lauding the inauguration of the E-Tibb telemedicine facility at the National Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology (NIDE), Prof. Saeed Quraishy 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 cellphones and added that Dow University would soon resume telemedicine clinics at other departments of the varsity.
Emphasizing the need for using technology in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in Pakistan, Saeed Quraishy said that besides challenges, the COVID-19 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.
“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.
Director NIDE Prof. Akhtar Ali Baloch said in its initial days, the 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.
They could talk to consultant diabetologists while sitting at their homes and get advice on managing their blood sugar levels with the help of medicines and lifestyle modification, he said.
“E-Tibb is the first telemedicine clinic of its kind for patients of diabetes which would benefit hundreds of thousands of patients in Sindh, Balochistan and other parts of the country as now they would not have to travel to Karachi for diabetes consultation”, Baloch said.
Doctors and consultants would give at least half an hour to each patient through telemedicine to properly educate and satisfy them, he added.
He maintained that patients from rural areas of Sindh and far-flung cities and towns of Balochistan had to spend thousands of rupees to reach Karachi, stay at hotels and spend money on consultation, medicine and travel back to their homes but now with the help of telemedicine, they could get treatment at their doorsteps.
“The network of Dow Diagnostic Services is spread all over the country and once a patient provides his samples at of the Dow Lab, his results would be to consulting physicians who would advise the patient about medicines, their doses and other modifications. This would provide to be a great service to diabetes patients in Pakistan,” he added.