Barbadians seeking treatment at the island’s polyclinics will have access to better foot screening thanks to a donation by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.
During a presentation ceremony Monday morning at the Maurice Byer Polyclinic, the Trust donated 11 Vascular Doppler machines to the Ministry of Health.
The objective of donating the machines is to reduce the loss of limbs, as well as the lives of persons living with diabetes, through earlier referrals and management.
Chief executive officer of the Maria Holder Diabetes Centre for the Caribbean Cally Boyea said that at the centre, early observation and detection have led to significant reduction in chronic cases.
“It is known that in Barbados there are just about 200 amputations annually with no significant reduction over the past two years. Something of concern is the higher proportion of major amputations. Although I am not a medical expert, I have been made to understand this may be due to the late presentation, which is accompanied by high rates of poor blood supply to the legs and feet,” he said.
Boyea said the donation of the machines was just a small step in helping to provide superior care for all Barbadians living with diabetes.
“The Maria Holder Diabetes Centre for the Caribbean will continue to partner with health care providers in Barbados to support and promote improved ongoing practices. Although preliminary, I am excited to say that we are already looking into ways to further improve its association with the surgical department at the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital],” he said.
Minister of Health John Boyce, who was on hand to accept the machines, thanked the Trust for the donation.
“The Ministry of Health is highly appreciative of the donation. This donation will go a long way in diagnostics for the diabetic and peripheral vascular disease. . . . The Ministry of Health, through its diabetic foot care committee, will continue to improve foot care through client education, improved surveillance and training of health care professionals,” he said.
Following the presentation, Boyce volunteered to have his feet tested.