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JIS News

Executive Director of the Diabetes Association of Jamaica (DAJ) Outreach, Owen Bernard, has lamented the number of diabetics, who have lost their lower limbs due to complications stemming from the disease, and has called for action to correct the situation.
Speaking to JIS News on the eve of Diabetes Week, which will be observed from November 14 to 19, Mr. Bernard attributed the problem in part to the limited knowledge of foot care by persons with the disease.
“It is imperative that action is taken by those with the authority to influence healthcare providers and organizations by providing appropriate foot care and education,” he said, while revealing that there were plans to officially survey the number of diabetes-related amputations. “We are awaiting funding,” he pointed out.
Diabetes Week is being observed under the theme: ‘Diabetes and Foot Care – Time to Act’ and Mr. Bernard has said that the theme was timely as it targeted not only diabetics, but also health professionals.
“Through good healthcare and informed self care, it is possible to prevent diabetes-related amputations,” he informed.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, of which Jamaica is a member, 40 per cent of lower extremities amputations are related to diabetes and every 30 seconds, a lower limb is lost to diabetes. Foot ulcers precede 85 per cent of diabetes-related amputations.
Meanwhile, several activities have been planned to mark Diabetes Week, which kicks off on World Diabetes Day, November 14, with a conference at the Holiday Inn in Montego Bay.
The conference will commence at 8:00 a.m. with registration and will include speakers such as Professor Errol Morrison, Honorary Life President of the DAJ. Power 106 will broadcast live from the venue.
Throughout the week, diabetes screenings as well as foot care screenings will take place, with the National Commercial Bank to host a screening at the Atrium on Trafalgar Road on November 16.
The week will culminate with another conference scheduled for November 19 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston. Minister of Health, John Junor will be on hand to open the conference, which commences also at 8:00 a.m.
Figures available from the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) revealed that of the 1,755 persons, who died from complication associated with diabetes mellitus in 2002, 927 were female.

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