Diabetes Compass

The Diabetes Compass offers digital support to health care professionals and people with diabetes in low- and middle-income countries in order to improve health outcomes

Today, technology is driving change in healthcare 

Many healthcare systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are overburdened, with healthcare professionals lacking the skills and resources to prevent, diagnose and treat diabetes patients. To address these challenges, the World Diabetes Foundation launched the Diabetes Compass in April 2021, committing to launch a digital solution in selected countries by the end of 2024.


The Diabetes Compass is an initiative to improve the quality of diabetes care in LMICs by leveraging emerging digital solutions to reduce vulnerabilities in the Diabetes Care Pathway – with a focus on improving early detection, clinical assessment, and initiation of care. It is funded by a 100 million DKK joint donation from Novo Nordisk A/S and the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The Diabetes Compass seeks to empower healthcare professionals (HCPs) and people living with diabetes by developing an innovative digital health solution that can support them in their daily efforts. 

Developed through country partnerships, with and for frontline HCPs and people living with diabetes, the Diabetes Compass aims to provide:

  1. Simple resources to help HCPs perform common diabetes care tasks and overcome everyday challenges
  2. Courses and personal learning journeys that build capability and improve confidence
  3. Tools and resources to support the self- management of diabetes, ranging from simple advice to advanced support powered by artificial intelligence technology

Solution development

To ensure that the Diabetes Compass responds to local needs, solution development is a continuous and iterative process. We will use an inclusive and need-based approach to build on global and local insights to develop the digital solution, including from field visits, interviews, workshops, group discussions, landscape assessments and other insights generating activities. 

Global scalability - local customisation 

The Diabetes Compass has global ambitions but will launch in selected LMICs, acting as innovators and incubators for the initiative and generating learnings to take it to scale. The launch countries are selected based on dialogues between WDF and its worldwide partner network. After the initial launches, we will continuously adapt the work, rolling out the Diabetes Compass in other countries where it can make an impact.


The Diabetes Compass is comprised of a growing group of active and committed global and country partners that work closely together to create impact in countries and beyond. 

Country partners 

Country partners are crucial for co-creating and driving the implementation of the digital health solution, responding to local needs in diabetes care. WDF has recently announced Sri Lanka and Tanzania as the first official launch countries for the Diabetes Compass. Within the respective countries, the initiative has onboarded the following local lead partners to drive the implementation of the solution:

•    Tanzania Diabetes Association 
•    Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists 

The lead country partners will work closely with national authorities, diabetes organisations and knowledge institutions to ensure that the solution addresses unmet needs on the ground and is aligned with existing priorities and initiatives. Partnerships include Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly & Children (MoHCDGEC)Tanzanian President’s Office of Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG)Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), and Sri Lanka Ministry of Health

Photos from field visits and dialogues with in-country partners in Tanzania and Sri Lanka (October, 2021).

Global partners 

Besides the country partners, The Diabetes Compass is also shaped by a network of global partners that bring specialised competencies within diabetes care, digital solutions, and research. Currently, the five global partners are: 

•    Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, centre of excellence for diabetes
•    Manyone, a strategy-design hybrid
•    Dalberg, a mission-driven consultancy
•    RTI, an international research institute and 
•    Benshi.ai, a non-profit using behavioural machine learning to provide more equitable healthcare

  • Who are the target users? 
    Health Care Practitioners (HCPs) who act as the first points of contact for patients. This includes general practitioners (GPs), nurses and community health workers who provide primary care for patients, assess newly admitted patients, and support preventive efforts and early detection of diabetes. 
  • What kind of resources will the Diabetes Compass include? 
    The Diabetes Compass will include simple useful guidance, performance support resources and clinical decision support tools. These will be evidence-based and developed in close collaboration with local experts and end-users.  
    Specific resources and tools will be created after the main diabetes care tasks and common challenges experience by frontline healthcare workers in each country have been defined.  All resources and tools will be tailored to the needs of the HCP’s job role and can be personalised to fit the specific performance support needs of each user.  
    Among other resources, the Diabetes Compass will include simple ‘how to’ guides, patient dialogue tools, short videos, podcasts, FAQs, and a peer support function to help facilitate communities of practice.  HCPs interested in more formal learning can link from the Diabetes Compass to a portfolio of reputable diabetes-related courses in which they can enrol. 
  • How does this differ from other e-Learning platforms targeting diabetes HCPs? 
    The Diabetes Compass is not a curriculum or a library of courses. It is a tool to support HCPs as they navigate the care journey together with their patients. It will be personalised to the needs and interests of the individual and values HCPs as partners in the development and continuous improvement process. 
    The Diabetes Compass will focus on every day, real-life problems facing HCPs in resource constrained settings. It aims to reach HCPs who are not effectively reached through existing capability building programmes.  In this way it aims to be a useful partner for HCPs in their everyday work.
  • Who is leading the Diabetes Compass initiative? 
    WDF is responsible for the management, development, promotion, and implementation of the Diabetes Compass.
  • Who is funding the Diabetes Compass initiative? 
    Novo Nordisk A/S and the Novo Nordisk Foundation are supporting the Diabetes Compass through a joint 100 million DKK donation. 
  • Will the digital solution be free to use?
    Yes - the Diabetes Compass will be free for all users.
  • When will the Diabetes Compass digital solution be ready for implementation? 
    The digital solution is expected to be implemented in selected launch countries by the end of 2024.
How can I learn more?

For more information, contact Michael Calopietro, Head of Digital Health Solutions, World Diabetes Foundation

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