Need for integrated approach

MINISTER for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate says the lower limb amputation rate of one in every 12.5 hours is a statistic that the country should not be proud to speak about.

Mr Usamate said amputations caused by diabetes was a reality that the country faced and if not addressed, could get worse.

“This is a challenge that needs the collaboration of anyone who cares about the wellbeing of a fellow Fijian whether they are young or old, iTaukei or of another ethnicity and whatever gender or belief lines or occupation they belong to,” he said.

“Because diabetes is a condition that does not discriminate in the way it affects people — so everyone’s input is needed,” he said.

Mr Usamate said the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had created a lot of inequities especially with the way health resources were utilised in Fiji.

“I have no doubt that the big complications of kidney failure, cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attacks and lower limb amputations have hugely impacted the country’s productivity and therefore the sustainability of any development project or plan. Out of the major complications mentioned, diabetic lower limb infections and amputations is a major contributing factor to the high cost of health care today and creating more burdens on families, communities and the nation.”

Mr Usamate said in order to achieve positive outcome and a target on any part of national strategies on NCDs, an integrated approach was needed at all healthcare stages.

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