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JIS News

Fourteen foot care assistants, who participated in the Diabetes Association of Jamaica’s (DAJ) one-week training programme in June, will receive their certificates of competence and completion at a graduation ceremony slated for next week.
The ceremony will be held as part of activities to observe Diabetes Week from November 14 to 19.
The one-off programme was funded by the German Embassy at a cost of 13,000 euros and covered nail care and treating basic foot problems such as corns.
Participants have subsequently been registered with the DAJ and are monitored while providing care to diabetic patients, especially those in rural areas. The programme, while developed in Jamaica, is currently being tested in Belize.
Owen Bernard, Executive Director of the DAJ, told JIS News that the aim of the initiative, was to reduce the number of diabetic patients, who have to amputate limbs as a life saving measure.
He informed that the foot care assistants would be able to provide basic foot care and education at the primary healthcare level, given that there were no chiropodists or podiatrists attached to public healthcare facilities.
In fact, he noted that the training provided a workable solution to the shortage of foot care specialists in the public healthcare sector. “There is definitely a need to train foot care assistants similarly to community health aides,” the Executive Director said. “Diabetes management embraces a multi-disciplinary approach of which, chiropody is a crucial component,” he added.
He acknowledged that some strides were being made with regard to including foot care as part of the routine screening for diabetes and praised the National Health Fund (NHF) for promoting foot care for diabetics extensively in its islandwide screening programme.
In 2003, the global prevalence of diabetes was estimated at 194 million persons. This figure is predicted to reach 333 million by 2025 as a consequence of longer life expectancy; increased sedentary lifestyles and changes in dietary patterns.
These factors are also likely to bring a proportional increase in the number of people with diabetes complications including problems of the foot, which when ignored, can cause more complications.