Diabetes Association Trains 50 Foot Care Assistants


The Diabetes Association of Jamaica (DAJ) has trained 50 foot care assistants, who will be charged with going into communities to help persons with diabetes care for their feet.
This is the second batch of assistants to be trained under the programme, which commenced last year, and is being sponsored by the National Health Fund (NHF). A graduation ceremony for the assistants will be held on November 12 at the Terra Nova Hotel, starting at 12:30 p.m.
Owen Bernard, Executive Director of the DAJ’s Outreach Programme and architect of the Foot Care Assistants Programme told JIS News that the plan was to train up to 100 persons this year, but Hurricane Dean and recent rains put a dent in those plans. “But I think that we have done well,” he said.
The graduates are from across the island and the DAJ worked closely with the health departments in each parish as well as other relevant agencies to identify persons suitable for training. “These are community-based people, some of them retired, who have been trained to deal with basic foot care at a primary care level,” Mr. Bernard informed.
He told JIS News that the training involved two phases, the first of which involved a week of classroom work and students were required to sit and pass an examination in order to be admitted to the next stage, which covered practical training at various centres such as infirmaries, over a three-month period.
The students worked with patients who were experiencing foot problems relating to diseased nails, corns and calluses, among others.
According to Mr. Bernard, the foot care assistants are now prepared to “go into the community and provide the service,” noting that, “we will also provide them with the tools to do the job.”
The proud graduates will work in communities in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, Manchester, St. James, St. Mary and St. Andrew.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director said that Jamaica is “way ahead of the game” in terms of training foot care assistants having attended the Fifth International Symposium on Diabetic Foot in the Netherlands in May of this year, where officials from 81 countries signed off on a consensus document regarding guidelines on the management and prevention of the diabetic foot.
“One of the areas highlighted is there is great need to train foot care assistants in dealing with the disease,” he said, adding that in this regard, the DAJ with the support of the NHF is “doing well.”
This year’s graduates will bring the total number of persons trained under the programme to 80, as 30 others were trained last year.
World Diabetes Day is on November 14.

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