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KARACHI: Leading diabetologists and health experts have called for establishing around 3000 diabetic foot clinics with tele-health facilities throughout the country, especially at district, tehsil and taluka levels to prevent around 1000 amputations that are daily being carried out due to diabetic foot ulcers in Pakistan.

They also urged the authorities to make arrangements for provision of specialized footwear for people with diabetes as specially-designed shoes and insoles have proved to be effective in preventing amputations and saving limbs of 90 percent people living with diabetes, adding that training of general physicians and awareness about prevention of diabetes and its complications is also a need of the hour.

“As per International Diabetes Federation (IDF) data, around 33 million people living with diabetes in Pakistan and of them, three to four million people develop diabetic-foot ulcers, a serious complication of the type 2 diabetes. Around 400,000 people face amputations of lower limbs annually in Pakistan, 50 percent of which can be prevented with establishment of around 3000 specialized diabetic foot clinics in Pakistan,” Dr. Saif-ul Haq, President of National Association of Diabetes Educators of Pakistan (NADEP) told concluding ceremony of an international health conference on Sunday.

The international moot titled ‘NADEP Footcon 2022’ has been organized by the National Association of Diabetes Educators of Pakistan (NADEP) in collaboration with Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE), International Diabetes Federation (IDF), D-Foot International and other organizations, which is being attended by health experts from several countries of the world as well as other cities of Pakistan.

The two-day international foot conference organized in collaboration International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE), Karachi is being held for last several years at various cities of Pakistan and it was addressed by leading diabetologists and endocrinologists who shared their experiences in managing and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and prevention of lower-limb amputations.

Lifetime achievement awards were presented to the leading physicians and health experts including Prof. Dr. Tahir Hussain, Prof. Dr. Ejaz Vohra and Prof. Dr. Fatima Jawed for their contribution in the field of diabetes treatment and management in the country while three young researchers were also given cash awards for their research papers on the management and treatment of diabetes at the concluding ceremony of the conference.

“Every year, around four hundred thousand people lose their legs, feet or parts of their lower limbs due to diabetic foot ulcers in Pakistan but with better care, timely intervention and treatment, as well as, education and awareness, thousands of amputations can be prevented. For last several years, we have trained hundreds of doctors, general practitioners and nurses to help people in preventing diabetic foot ulcers and saved hundreds of limbs”, Prof. Abdul Basit said while speaking at the concluding ceremony of the conference.

The eminent diabetologist who is serving as the President of International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region claimed that 50 percent amputations due to diabetic foot ulcers were prevented at 300 foot clinics established by them throughout the country where podiatrists and technicians trained by them are helping people with diabetes and added that now there is a need to replicate this project in entire Pakistan.

“In Karachi, we have managed to bring down amputations due to diabetic foot ulcers from 27 to 3 percent only, which means that hundreds of lives were saved as most of the people with diabetes die within a few years after losing their lower limbs”, Prof. Abdul Basit said adding that with the use of technology and awareness, even the incidence of diabetic foot ulcers can be prevented to a large extent.

Dr. Zahid Miyan, Chair of the conference said with the help of multidisciplinary care, trainings and awareness, around 50 percent amputations have been prevented as specialized foot clinics in Pakistan and called for using the technology to reach a maximum number people with diabetes to make them aware of its complications, especially diabetic foot ulcers.

He said there is an urgent need to spread awareness among healthcare professionals, as well as, common people so that diabetic foot ulcers and other complications of the diabetes could be prevented in Pakistan.

In addition to training doctors, there is a need to train thousands of nurses and take them on board in management of diabetes in Pakistan, he said, adding that most of the complications of the lifestyle disease could be prevented by increasing awareness and educating the masses.

Tanzanian expert of diabetic foot ulcers Dr. Zulfikar G. Abbass spoke on the Multidisciplinary Management of Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU), saying early diagnosis of this condition can prevent further progression of the disease.

Several other international experts including Eric Senneville from France, Luigi Uccioli from Italy, Jamil Halabi from Lebanon, Catherine Steer from South Africa, William Akiki from Lebanon and Roberto Anichini from Italy also addressed the moot.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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