Amputation rates alarming

AMPUTATION rates in Fiji have reached alarming levels and those suffering from diabetes have been urged to visit their nearest health facilities to avoid losing a valuable part of their body.

According to a three-year survey conducted by Diabetes Fiji revealed that 938 amputations were performed at the country’s largest referral centre, CWM Hospital, from 2010 to 2012.

Diabetes Fiji president Dr Wahid Khan said during the Diabetes Wellness Congress at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay yesterday that indigenous Fijians (iTaukei) topped the number of diabetes cases and high amputation cases.

Of the entire amputations digit, knee, above knee and forefoot amputations were the most common.

He said the main problem associated with amputations was foot problems.

With diabetes being the biggest contributor to the high amputation rates, he said one out of every eight patients who had an amputation were not aware that they were diabetic.

Dr Khan said factors leading to amputations were health seeking behaviours of patients and late presentation to hospitals.

“Our study showed that health care is not a problem. We did not find any major difference.

“The patients are coming at a late stage so amputation or surgery has to be done to save the life of the patient.”

He said members of the public should visit their health centres to have their sugar tested and get screened at least thrice a month.

To address the problem, he said people should get themselves screened early, diabetic patients should take control of their sugar levels and look after their feet.