IN the past five years Lautoka Hospital has carried out 1158 diabetes-related amputations.
From 2004 to 2008, 231 amputations were carried out yearly at the hospital.
Hospital surgical registrar Dr Rajeev Patel said the number of amputations did not equal the number of amputees.
Dr Patel said amputations on the lower limbs for the five years were: 2004-196; 2005-220; 2006-250; 2007-210; and 2008-298.
He said diabetes-related amputations were higher in the 41-70 year age group.
He said almost one in four adults in Fiji had diabetes, adding foot sepsis consumed a huge amount of resources yet was clearly an under-recognised complication.
Dr Patel said there was one lower limb amputation for every two in the West and two lower limb amputations every week.
“Other barriers to diabetic foot care were that it is not a high profile disease like HIV and cancer,” he said. “There is a lack of high-profile personalities to campaign for the disease and lack of awareness in the media as well.”
Other factors are the access to health care-geography location and low socio-economic status.
“Lack of specialists-diabetologist, podiatrists care and vascular surgeons. Also the large patient load to low staff numbers.”
Dr Patel made the comments at the 17th Fiji College of General Practitioners and the 15th Fiji Pharmaceutical services combined conference at the Sofitel Resort in Nadi yesterday.
He said the prevalence of diabetes and its related complications was growing at epidemic proportions worldwide
Dr Patel said the worldwide prevalence of diabetes now exceeded 200million and was predicted to rise to more than 300million in the next 20 years
He said foot ulcerations and infections and peripheral diseases frequently resulted in gangrene and lower limb amputations.
“Up to 15 per cent of patients with diabetes will have foot ulcer at some stage and over one million amputations for diabetes related complications occur every year,” he said.
“In simple terms every 30 seconds of a day someone, somewhere loses a leg because of diabetes in the world.”