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Acquired disabilities

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, July 08, 2014

ACCORDING to a Fiji National Council for Disabled People's baseline survey in 2008 and 2009, 60 per cent of Fiji's disabled population acquired their disabilities while 40 per cent were born with it.

FNCDP director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said so far, the number of people with acquired disability may have increased by 70 per cent.

Dr Yanuyanutawa said there was an expected increase because of the number of people who had been disabled through amputations as a result of non-communicable diseases, road accidents, diving paralysis cases and other reasons.

"Most of the disabilities in Fiji are acquired compared to congenital cases where people are born with disabilities," he said.

"NCD has been the number one cause of disabilities and I believe that either the percentage for the acquired disability is still the same or it has shot up by another 10 per cent.

"Another major cause of acquired disability is motor vehicle accidents followed by diving paralysis which has also come up to the fore recently."

Dr Yanuyanutawa said the increase of acquired disability from NCDs had been a topic of discussion during a joint workshop with the Ministry of Health.

"There is a need for a change in mind-sets.

"Irrespective of what ethnic group we belong to, the typical Fijian mentality is that we test the waters."

Meanwhile, non-communicable diseases national adviser D Isimeli Tukana had revealed to this paper last year that a total of 400 amputations were conducted on diabetic patients every year.

Dr Tukana said the highest number of amputations recorded was in 2010 with 693.

He said this meant that almost two operations were carried out on patients every day.

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