We look back at 2019 Master Strategist Day (MSD), where over 500 INSEAD MBA students supported Almouneer in preserving the vision of diabetic patients in the MENA region.
Facing even the slightest of difficulty in being able to see can make day-to-day tasks difficult.
Yet an estimated 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from blindness or vision impairment, including one billion cases that remain untreated or could have been prevented. A range of conditions can cause vision impairment including diabetes. Persistent levels of high blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the retina, resulting in vision problems and subsequent blindness. This preventable condition is called diabetic retinopathy.
Of the 463 million adults living with diabetes around the world, 55 million are in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This number is set to reach 108 million by 2045, making it one of the worst affected regions in the world. Realising this market gap in preventable vision impairment, Noha Khater and Rania Kadry founded Almouneer Diabetic Eye Care - MENA’s first specialised digital service that aims to prevent and treat avoidable blindness from diabetes. “Over the past years, I’ve seen a great increase in diabetic eye problems. I wanted to help patients change their lives,” explained Khater when speaking as a 2018 Cartier Women’s Initiative Fellow.
Supporting the founders on this mission in February 2019 were over 500 students from INSEAD’s MBA’19D class. Following the success of Master Strategist Day (MSD) in October 2018, INSEAD partnered with Almouneer to allow MBA students to apply their business knowledge to maximise social impact and accelerate progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on good health, well-being and prevention.
Students analyzed the Almouneer case study developed by INSEAD Professors Ilze Kivleniece and Ithai Stern, together with Ridhima Aggarwal and MBA’19Js, Alex Stolk and Daan Walker. Through brainstorming, teamwork and mentorship of 30 consultants from Bain & Company, the students developed a number of strategic recommendations for Almouneer to address business and operational issues of scale, sustainability, and impact. These included expanding care delivery to mobile clinics, broadening the scope of services, pivoting towards a hub-and-spoke model, and engaging with ecosystem partners.
Dr Noha Khater, photo credits: Almouneer
Reflecting on MSD in a conversation with Ridhima Aggarwal, Khater said, “This was a once in a lifetime experience for us. Being with INSEAD has been a game-changer.” Expressing her relief in Almouneer now being able to address a long-standing issue, she explained, “One of the things that was always on our mind, and was very challenging for us was how to incorporate the for-profit business with a social mission. Coming to INSEAD has clarified our vision for that. We have a clear idea now of what we want, where we want to go and how to achieve that. And I believe this wouldn’t have happened without coming to INSEAD.”
By using their knowledge to resolve real-world challenges, the students helped Almouneer in their mission to preserve the vision of their patients, while learning about strategic tools that combine social and stakeholder impact. INSEAD’s collaboration with Almouneer highlights the crucial role of businesses in incorporating both social and economic development of communities.