Fighting blindness caused by diabetes in Bangladesh

Orbis CEO Unveils New Program in Bangladesh

A staggering one-third of 10 million diabetics in Bangladesh risk going blind because their diabetes goes undiagnosed. A new project in the Gopalganj district - unveiled by our CEO Bob Ranck - is dedicated to combating an explosion of blindness caused by diabetes.

The creation of the Diabetic Retinopathy Referral Network is backed by World Diabetes Foundation with support from local health and eye care partners. The project was officially launched on February 11 with CEO Bob Ranck invited to as guest of honor.

Local health and eye care partners with CEO Bob Ranck at the project opening

It’s designed to create a scalable integrated model to improve eye care services for diabetic patients focusing on diabetic retinopathy in five rural districts. During the inauguration ceremony, local health experts provided an insight into the country’s diabetes crisis.

Diabetic retinopathy affects an estimated one-third of people with diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in adults between 35-50. In fact, every person living with diabetes is at risk of developing retinopathy, and may potentially go blind over time as excessive blood sugar levels can cause irreversible damage to vessels in the retina.

The number of diabetic eye diseases and associated blindness, and death even death, is increasing every year because so many sufferers are going undiagnosed, and even when their illness is identified, those impacted lack access to quality eye care.

Speaking at the event, President & CEO Bob Ranck informed the audience diabetic retinopathy is now one of the leading causes of childhood blindness and that 54 of Bangladesh Diabetic Samity (BADAS) hospitals' eye care programs need to be extended so that every patient can get the correct treatment under one umbrella.

Project stakeholders observe a diabetic retinopathy screening

What the Project Hopes to Achieve

During the next three years alongside the support of our amazing local partners, the Creation of Diabetic Retinopathy Referral Network initiative will:

  • Screen 253,000 patients with diabetes in four districts of Bangladesh – Gopalganj, Bogura, Netrokona, Mymensingh and Sherpur.
  • Treat 22,000 patients with diabetic retinopathy referred from eye hospitals during the project period
  • Enable 315 patients from low income families to receive financial assistance for treatment to fight the disease through a voucher scheme

Thanks to Our Partners

We would like to thank local healthcare and eye care partners and the Bangladesh government for their support kick starting this project. We look forward to continuing our excellent relationship.

As well as our amazing supporters and donors, we’d also like to say a big thank you to the following partners:

  • Gopalganj Sheikh Fazilatunnessa Mujib Eye Hospital and Training Institute
  • Bangladesh Diabetic Samity (BADAS) Gopalganj
  • World Diabetes Foundation


1006 Bangladesh Khulna 2004 Hbp C Matt Shonfeld Ceitc Abdullah Al Mahmud01


Bangladesh Diabetes Retinopathy Program


1006 Bangladesh Khulna Outreach 2007 C Matt Shonfield Afioza Yazim


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