Diabetic foot has been identified as one of the major life-threatening complications of diabetes and “one of the major public health burdens of our time”.
Speaking on Monday at a ceremony where 12 Vascular Doppler Scanners were handed over by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust to the Ministry of Health, Health Minister John Boyce expressed appreciation for the equipment which, he said, would go a long way in diagnosing the diabetic and peripheral vascular disease foot.
He continued: “The Ministry of Health, through its Diabetes Foot Care Committee, will continue to improve diabetic foot care through client education, improved surveillance and training of health care professionals. In addition, we will continue to scale-up our diabetes prevention clinics and NCD clinics within primary care.”
Noting the high prevalence of diabetes in the population, Mr. Boyce disclosed that 80 per cent of the non-maternal and non-child health visits to polyclinics were by persons with chronic illnesses, the most common being diabetes, hypertension and lipid disorders.
“As you are all aware, the health profile of Barbados has changed over the last 50 years where our people are no longer affected by malnutrition, vaccine preventable diseases and diseases related to poor sanitation. The social and economic gains made in the post-independence era have triggered an explosion of lifestyle-related diseases for example diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease and some cancers,” he said.
The challenge for a progressive health sector, therefore, the Health Minister submitted, was to balance the response to NCDs, while also making sure that the threats of the past did not resurface.
The Vascular Doppler Scanners were received by representatives of polyclinics throughout the island.