This year, RIIO Fellow Chevy Lazenby spearheaded the development of a program called “Amaso Mazima” for people living with diabetes in Rwanda. Amaso Mazima translates to “Healthy Eyes” and the idea for the program spawned from a consistent challenge that we face at Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital. At Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital in Kigali, we have about 1000 regular diabetic patients. Everyone with diabetes is at risk of vision loss, but blindness is preventable with regular visits to the doctor, annual eye exams and good management of blood glucose levels.
Unfortunately, many diabetics in Rwanda do suffer from avoidable complications due to insufficient resources to manage the disease and missing or misguided advice from healthcare professionals. We wanted to address this challenge by ameliorating awareness of diabetic retinopathy and other eye complications while empowering people living with diabetes to track and take charge of their own eye health so we worked with our partners, physicians, ophthalmologists and people living with diabetes to develop a card that makes sense. In partnership with the Rwanda Diabetes Association, we are currently disseminating the Amaso Mazima cards with the intention of getting ophthalmologists, physicians and diabetics literally on the same page. You can find web versions of the Amaso Mazima card on our website, and the official cards at the Rwanda Diabetes Association in Kinamba (KN 8 Ave, No. 175) when you register.