The ORNATE India Project: United Kingdom–India Research Collaboration to tackle visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy
Sivaprasad S., Raman R., Conroy D., Mohan None., Wittenberg R., Rajalakshmi R., Majeed A., Krishnakumar S., Prevost T., Parameswaran S., Turowski P., Maheswari U., Khobragade R., Netuveli G., Sadanandan R., Greenwood J., Ramasamy K., Rao M., Bergeles C., Das T., Bhende P., Rani PK., Roy R., Das S., Narendran V., Manayath G., Anantharaman G., Gopalakrishnan M., Natarajan S., Krishnan R., Mani SL., Agarwal M., Padhi T., Behera U., Bhattacharjee H., Barman M., Chawla G., Sen A., Saxena M., Sil AK., Chakabarty S., Cherian T., Kr R., Naigaonkar R., Desai A., Deshpande CM., Kulkarni S.
© 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Introduction: The ORNATE India project is funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund. The aim is to build research capacity and capability in India and the UK to tackle global burden of diabetes-related visual impairment. As there are over 77 million people with diabetes in India, it is challenging to screen every person with diabetes annually for sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (DR). Therefore, alternate safe approaches need to be developed so that those at-risk of visual impairment due to DR is identified promptly and treated. Methods: The project team utilised diverse global health strategies and research methods to co-design work packages to build research capacity and capability to ensure effective, affordable and efficient DR services are made available for the population. The strategies and methods employed included health system strengthening; implementation science; establishing care pathways; co-designing collaborative studies on affordable technologies, developing quality standards and guidelines to decrease variations in care; economic analysis; risk modelling and stratification. Five integrated work packages have been developed to deal with all aspects of DR care. These included implementation of a DR screening programme in the public health system in a district in Kerala, evaluating regional prevalence of diabetes and DR and assessing ideal tests for holistic screening for diabetes and its complications in 20 areas in India, utilising artificial intelligence on retinal images to facilitate DR screening, exploring biomarker and biosensor research to detect people at risk of diabetes complications, estimating cost of blindness in India and risk modelling to develop risk-based screening models for diabetes and its complications. A large collaborative network will be formed to propagate research, promote shared learning and bilateral exchanges between high- and middle-income countries to tackle diabetes-related blindness.