Diabetes Compass

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

Today, technology is a driving force for change in healthcare.

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


The Diabetes Compass is a commitment to improve the quality of diabetes care in primary care settings. The Diabetes Compass leverages digital solutions to reduce vulnerabilities in the diabetes care pathway and improve outcomes for people living with diabetes and hypertension.


Diabetes is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally. Many health systems are strengthening their national NCD responses, and the Diabetes Compass aims to complement these efforts by leverage innovative digital health solutions at community and facility levels.


Using a collaborative model in which global and local partners co-create solutions, the Diabetes Compass aims to do three things:

  1. Strengthen NCD health information systems to improve care delivery, quality management, and policy and planning
  2. Strengthen the Diabetes Care Pathway by improving early detection and timely diagnosis of diabetes and hypertension
  3. Build diabetes-related clinical capability among medical officers, nurses, and community health workers at the level of primary care


The Diabetes Compass is comprised of a growing group of active and committed global and country partners that work closely to realise the initiative’s objectives for improved diabetes care in the launch countries and beyond.

Collage of documenting meetings and fieldwork related to Diabetes Compass

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: 

Dalberg - Mission-driven consultancy; Manyone - Strategy-design hybrid; STENO - Centre of excellence for diabetes; benshi.ai - Non-profit using behavioural machine learning; RTI International - international research institute

Country partners

Country partners are crucial for co-creating and driving the implementation of the digital health solutions, responding to local needs in diabetes care.

The first official launch countries for the Diabetes Compass are Sri Lanka and Tanzania, where the initiative has onboarded country lead partners to drive the implementation of the solution. 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.

Our country partners are:

Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists; Sri Lanka Minsitry of Health; Tanzania Diabetes Association; Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences; Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly & Children; Tanzanian President's Office of Regional Administrator and Local GovernmentOUR APPROACH TO SOLUTION DEVELOPMENT

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

Based on identified needs and challenges, the Diabetes Compass partners aligned on four main focus areas within which a digital health solution will be developed. These are termed opportunity spaces and are as follows:

  1. Health information: Optimising the data value chain, structured around the capture, transfer, and use of health data.
  2. Early Detection: Bridging an important diabetes care gap by strengthening early disease detection, reducing the risk of serious and fatal complications.
  3. HCP Learning and Performance Support: Building clinical capacity of health care professionals and community health workers in local settings through continuous and adapted learning.

The solution development process

We follow a roadmap of key milestones and outcomes for advancing the Diabetes Compass within the opportunity spaces:

Phase: Early discussions. Outcomes: Alignment with existing policies and strategies, Early Ideation. Phase: Define. Outcomes: Problem understanding, solution concept, experience vision. Phase: Develop. Outcomes: Requirements, early prototypes, solution testing. Phase: Deliver. Outcomes: Training materials, solution support. Phase: Evaluate. Outcomes: Impact framework, impact research, findings, dissemination. Scale: solution refinement, scaling plan, lessons learned.

Since the start of the Diabetes Compass in April 2021, we have made great progress in the launch countries.

In Tanzania & Sri Lanka….

  • We visited healthcare facilities and clinics to develop a deeper understanding about the existing challenges and the opportunities for Diabetes Compass
  • In Tanzania, we visited community health workers to learn from them about their role, motivation, and day-to-day work
  • We organised interactive in-country workshops with our partners to formulate joined aspirations and advance the solution development process
  • We finished the DEFINE phase for Health Information and Early Detection, with a co-created “Experience Vision”, which is a visual representation of what we aim to achieve with the Diabetes Compass from a user perspective. Explore our Health Information Experience Vision and Early Detection Experience Vision.
  • We launched the DEVELOP phase for Health Information and Early Detection and are working towards prototypes and ultimately minimum viable products
  • We launched the DEFINE phase for HCP Learning and Performance Support

While hosted by the World Diabetes Foundation, the Diabetes Compass was founded in concert with Novo Nordisk A/S and Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Frequently asked questions