DIABETES Fiji hopes that its pilot peer group system of caring for diabetes patients will help reduce the number of amputations in Fiji, says Diabetes Fiji chairman Dr Wahid Khan,
As well, it is hoped this will improve the system of care and encourage people to take responsibility for the disease.
Dr Khan made the comments as 26 community health nurses graduated from a foot care course yesterday.
He said Fiji had one of the highest rates of amputations but with the nurses and the pilot system, there was potential to reduce the numbers.
"The foot care seminar is a preventative program to teach patients to take care of their feet," Dr Khan said.
"Many stand on their feet all day but they don't really take care of them and even more so for diabetics because of the problems they have."
He said nurses also gave advice to the pilot groups on the type of foods to eat and how to prepare food that would keep their blood sugar levels low. There is a pilot group each in Nabukavesi, Cunningham, Wainibokasi and Laubau outside Nausori and Dr Khan explained there was merit in the groups.
The groups are made up of a small number of diabetics — 10 or less who each receive a glucometer and sticks which are used by the group leaders to test the blood sugar levels of each participant.
Dr Khan said the groups also enabled the diabetics to share their experiences and question each other when blood sugar levels were high.