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Experts lament rising amputation cases among Nigerians

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Experts have lamented that more Nigerians are losing their limbs from diabetes foot, a major complication of diabetes mellitus. They spoke at the fifth yearly Podiatry and Diabetes Foot Care workshop, which kicked-off on Monday in Lagos.

The week-long workshop, organsied by Rainbow Specialist Medical Centre, a private hospital with focus on the management of diabetes and other endocrine and metabolism conditions, in partnership with the World Walk Foundation, Jamaican Chapter, is designed to train Nigerian doctors, other health workers and people living with diabetes to equip them with basic knowledge and skills on diabetes foot care.

The workshop Coordinator, Dr Afokoghene Rita Isiavwe, noted that diabetes complications are on the increase following the global rise of diabetes mellitus.

She disclosed that the situation has become worrisome in Nigeria due to ignorance of both the affected individuals and the delay by medical personnel caring for them to refer them to appropriate centres where they can be properly managed.

“These delays in presentation often times lead to amputations as a means of saving the person’s life or even death,” she said.

Isiavwe disclosed that diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation worldwide, including Nigeria. Unfortunately, she said, podiatry, a specialised branch of medicine that focuses on foot and ankle disorders, which is relevant in the care of persons living with diabetes mellitus is currently not taught in Nigerian universities hence, the introduction of the annual podiatry workshop by Rainbow Medical Centre to fill the gap.

She told the participants and guests that the Centre had, in the last five years, been building local capacity to improve management and prevention of diabetes foot complications while also raising awareness on proper foot care in persons living with diabetes mellitus in the country.

This, she further said, had been achieved through regular interactive workshops to provide needed training for doctors and other health workers with support from the World Diabetes Foundation Project, the Diabetes Podiatry Initiative Nigeria and training faculty from the American Podiatry Institute.

In his speech, the Founder, World Walk Foundation Jamaican Chapter, Owens Bernard told the audience there was no podiatrist in Jamaica some 25 years ago and foot care was therefore not on the raider in the country at that time. The situation, he said, had changed with the intervention of the World Walk Foundation through partnership with the country’s ministry of health which trained health workers and provided them with basic foot care tools

“We need to prevent amputation, no matter what stage it is. We need to focus on the simple things that lead to amputations. We need to go to the primary care level and this starts with education,” he said.

In his remarks, chairman of the occasion. Dr. Adeyemi Johnson, a cardiologist and vascular specialist, stressed the need for Nigeria to seriously consider measures aimed at reducing the rate of amputation in the country especially among the underprivileged.

He noted that the management of diabetes and its complications could be very expensive, especially when complications such as diabetes foot set in.

The burden, he however said, could be greatly prevented through awareness and enlightenment of the public, which according to him remains the cheaper way out for the underprivileged who cannot afford the cost of management of diabetes foot complication and prevent amputations or death.

This, he said, remains the cheaper way out for the underprivileged who cannot afford the cost of management of diabetes foot complication and prevent amputations or death.


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