Health authorities in Barbados are about to take a fresh stand to help cut an alarming 200 diabetic foot amputations per year.
Added to the current Step By Step training programme on improving foot care, the Ministry of Health this morning announced plans to establish specialist diabetic foot care clinics at four strategic locations across the island.
Medical Officer of Health and Chairman of the Diabetic Foot Care Committee, Dr. Ingrid Cumberbatch, made the disclosure at the Culloden Road headquarters of the ministry, while giving an update on the Step By Step programme and Introduction to Advanced Course on Foot Care.
“One of the things we are looking at in moving forward with this programme, is the establishment of what we call, Diabetic Foot Clinics; and we are looking at establishing those clinics in four strategically-located clinics around the island, where we have a team of persons who would be trained in wound management and in the care of persons with wounds,
so that they would get their full care for their wounds at those areas,” revealed Cumberbatch.
She said these clinics would also address issues where patients with chronic foot problems were seen by health care professionals at the regular polyclinics, but required specialist treatment.
Need for more podiatrists
Chief Operating Officer of the Barbados Diabetes Foundation, Simone McConnie, pointed out that there were only five podiatrists in Barbados, and she hoped that, with the establishment of the specialist clinics, that number would increase.
“We are a developing country and we do not have enough podiatrists
to sustain. If we had enough podiatrists, we would not be doing Step By Step. So the reason for this training, is that you’re supposed to try to do some kind of intervention as well. You are supposed to also help with being in a team effort,” added McConnie.
Her message was that health care professionals, who were not necessarily foot specialists, should also apply some “first aid” treatment, until a patient was able to see the podiatrist.
“Once the Diabetic Foot Clinics have been established, then you can start maybe not having to be as hands-on, because hopefully by then you would have a couple more podiatrists, and we would be able to manage more as a diabetic foot unit; and the basic diabetic foot unit would have a podiatrist there every day. It would have access to a specialist care doctor and a specialist care nurse,” she noted.
McConnie explained that the specialist nurse would not only be able to treat the foot, but the patient in general. (EJ)