ONE in six people between 25 and 64 years of age in the country are diabetic.
It means that 76,130 Fijians suffer from some form of diabetes.
And it was also revealed at the Fiji Health Symposium that one amputation is performed on diabetics by doctors every 12.6 hours.
Colonial War Memorial Hospitals surgeon Dr Josese Turagava said surgeons conducted 693 amputations in 2010 and aggressive treatment was being used to address the high incidence of the disease.
Late presentation of diabetic patients to hospitals remains a problem along with non-compliance with medication and the use of traditional medicine, he said.
In the CWM Hospital, we are using one operating theatre seven days a week in order to handle the patient load.
In addition, 33 per cent of patients in the surgical wards are diabetic.
Dr Turagava said diabetic patients spent an average of 27 days in hospital, placing a strain on State finances and the national economy.
However, he said, despite the aggressive treatment, 16 per cent or one in six diabetic patients who had a limb amputated, died.
The symposium, which ended yesterday, also heard that public health initiatives to reduce the incidence of diabetes had failed.
Participants heard that a more aggressive public health program was needed in order to combat diabetes and reduce the need for amputations.
Dr Turagava suggested a program in medical subdivisions which convinced patients to take their medication, exercise, wear protective footwear and care for foot injuries.
If we look after the subdivisions, we look after Fiji, he said.