‘30,000 diabetics need eye surgery’

OF the 60,000 people that are living with diabetes in Fiji, 30,000 will need some form of eye surgery in the near future, says College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at Fiji National University, Professor of Surgery Eddie McCaig.

Prof McCaig also said of this figure, 800 would need dialysis. He said those needing dialysis would spend $250 a week for the treatment.

“About one in three Fijians have diabetes, that’s a fact and about 80 per cent of these people have poorly controlled diabetes,” he said.

“This time 40 per cent of the surgical operations we do in this country are for diabetes so it is a crazy world and we are desperate.

“There have been proposals that NCDs control will improve if they move private care to the general practitioners (GP).

“No, it’s not the GP that are going to solve anything I think we all have to contribute to this.”

Prof McCaig said last year they had put together a one page proposal to solve the problem, adding that one of the strategies was for the prime minister to oversee that all ministries made a concerted effort.

“The Ministry of Labour needs to be involved to see who we are going to employ, the Health Ministry to look after primary care, the Ministry of Agriculture to see what we are eating,” he said.

“I think we have to teach our kids and stop playing the blame game because whatever is being done has failed and everyone has to play their role.

“All of these will be addressed if everybody gets on board and does what they are supposed to and this means members of the public changing their lifestyles because that is the most crucial component of addressing the increase of diabetes cases in this country.”

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