Diabetes care goes digital in Indonesia

We recently announced a partnership with the provincial government of West Java, Indonesia to deliver 100 Actiste devices to hospitals in the region. The six-month pilot project is a step towards digital care for the millions of Indonesians living with diabetes.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that today more than 10.7 million Indonesians have diabetes, with the number set to grow to 16.6 million by 2045.

As in many countries, cases of undiagnosed diabetes are thought to be very high in Indonesia. A 2019 national health research report (Indonesian language only) indicated that more than 70% of Indonesians with diabetes have not been diagnosed.

“People with undiagnosed diabetes often only come into clinics when they experience complications,” says Brighter Co-Director for Southeast Asia, Johan Möller. “The Covid-19 pandemic has only made this situation worse, as now people are worried about visiting healthcare centres for fear of infection. Some physicians have shared with me that patient visits are dropping by up to 90%.”

In August, the Indonesian Endocrinologist Association and the Jakarta Health Agency held a webinar about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on diabetes care. They reported that many people with diabetes are now turning to telemedicine apps, WhatsApp chats and regular phone calls instead of hospital visits.

“Chronic disease management is in a big shift towards new tools for telehealth, with the pandemic only speeding up the change,” says Möller. “Actiste has a major role to play by introducing the possibility for remote diabetes care.”

Several hospitals in West Java are participating in the Actiste pilot project. Brighter will train healthcare staff in using Actiste to treat their patients, with the aim of further developing the service for Indonesia.

“We would love to take away from the pilot how Actiste can help both patients and doctors with country-specific needs,” says Brighter Project Lead, Adintya P. Gusti, MD. “It’s important to know how the patients feel about Actiste and how the doctors use it to change the way they provide care.”

More than 80% (Indonesian language only) of Indonesia’s 269 million citizens are covered by the country’s universal healthcare plan, which provides consultations and medication free of charge. Insulin, injector pens and needles are provided to those who need them, although glucometers and test strips must be purchased privately.

Diabetics typically receive monthly check ups with a general physician or endocrinologist, and can also attend support groups at local hospitals and clinics. But in light of the Covid-19 pandemic – with healthcare resources stretched and many people unwilling to visit hospitals – the need for remote digital care is now stronger than ever.

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