Diabetes Association to Launch Foot Care Course


This year has been dubbed “International Year of Foot Care” by the Diabetes Association of Jamaica and the organisation, through a donation of 13,000 euros from the German Embassy will launch a course to help foot care specialists render the best possible care to their patients, particularly diabetics.
“There is a critical need for foot care specialists in Jamaica, as there are no trained podiatrists or chiropodists in the Government health services or clinics,” explained Executive Director of the Diabetes Association of Jamaica Outreach Project, Owen S. Bernard.
The Association’s initiative is therefore aimed at reducing the number of diabetic patients who have to amputate limbs as a life saving measure. The financial contribution from the German Embassy will be used for both the training and provisions of tools for the course, which the Diabetes Association of Jamaica sees as a step forward in expanding foot care for diabetics in the island.
Mr. Bernard emphasized that “professionalism is necessary in foot care and diabetics should not allow pedicurists to treat corns and calluses, as they are not trained in that regard.” He further explained that there are critical procedures that have to be followed when caring for the feet of diabetics, hence only certified specialists should do so. Diabetics are therefore urged to take foot care seriously in order to avoid amputation as the illness advances.The Foot Care course is slated to begin this month and will involve the training of 20 foot care assistants, two from each selected location.
The training sessions will last for one week, two days for classroom work and five days for fieldwork.
On completion of the programme, the Foot Care specialists will be registered with the Diabetes Association of Jamaica. They will also be monitored while providing care to diabetic patients, especially those in rural areas. This programme, while developed in Jamaica, is currently being tested in Belize.The Executive Director listed neglect, lack of care and lack of awareness as the reasons for amputation in Jamaica.
“When one is diabetic, circulation is reduced and hence the ability to feel and fight infection becomes diminished,” Mr. Bernard pointed out. He therefore suggested that “patients should not walk barefooted due to the loss of sensation in feet as cuts and bruises will not be noticed.”
Amputation, however, is optional and not inevitable, so patients should make a concerted effort to see trained and certified foot specialists while problems are in the primary stages. “Put feet first, prevent amputation,” the Executive Director advised.

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