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Diabetic feet in focus

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Diabetic feet in focus

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THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH is stepping up its programmes to treat diabetic feet.
Speaking at the opening of the 5th Global Diabetes Village Expo at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday, Minister of Health Donville Inniss said Government was building capacity in terms of podiatric and other skills needed to effectively manage diabetes.
He said diabetic foot care was a “significant economic cost” in the health care system, and that a committee to address the specifics at the primary level had been established.
A Step by Step programme was set up in polyclinics where nurses and doctors would examine diabetic feet and educate patients on footwear and foot care.
Chiropodist at the Comfeet Foot Care Clinic, Natasha Glodon-Lewis, spoke to the SATURDAY SUN about the importance of correct footwear for diabetics.
“If you don’t, then what can happen is you can get ulcers, [which] would start with blisters with ill-fitting shoes, bruises and it leads to problems. If your shoe isn’t fitting you properly and you have lack of sensation, which is called neuropathy, then you don’t feel when something is rubbing, you don’t feel a corn, you don’t feel a callous, and those can then break down and lead to ulcers.
“So, for us as podiatrists, one of the biggest things that we do is that we fit you with appropriate comfort shoes, with appropriate depth to accommodate your foot structure, arch support and make sure that your length and width are proper,” she said, adding that Barbadians generally had the right kind of shoe, but sometimes they would be too short or narrow.
Glodon-Lewis said she liked the fact that people who visited the clinic would follow recommendations in the name of good health.
Musician Adrian “Boo” Husbands, while he was not guilty of wearing incorrect shoes, can attest to the fact that diabetes, which is commonly referred to as ‘sugar’, is not sweet.
Husbands, who acted as MC for the ceremony, lost a toe earlier this year.
He said he went out to the car to get his shoes on July 19 and got a cut on a big toe, which he was unaware of until later in the afternoon when he realized his shoe was bloody.
Despite the “best of care” for the next 11 days, he was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the toe was subsequently removed. He spoke to the importance of events like the expo and the need to sensitise people to issues.
“Diabetes is not something to be taken lightly. It is silent and it builds up and builds up and when it speaks, it speaks really loudly,” Husbands said, as he encouraged the minister to continue working for diabetics and for them to be responsible for themselves.
“I just think that we are at the dawn of a new era, where we got to look at treatments and the way we deal with treating diabetics, because otherwise, we gine be a nation of one-foot, cut-up people,” Husbands added. (YB)