Health experts have expressed concern over the increase in the rate of amputations as a result of diabetes foot ulcer, one of the main complications of the diabetes health condition.
They, therefore, urged the federal government to increase in adopting a policy guideline to improve the treatment of the condition.
The communique signed by participants who attended a stakeholder meeting on diabetes Foot care which was convened by the Diabetes Podiatry Initiative Nigeria Project (DPIN) pointed out that the high rate of amputations and deaths as a result of diabetes mellitus in the country is unacceptable.
The report revealed the health condition is currently the most common cause of amputation of the lower limbs compared with other complications.
The participants noted that: “There is a general lack of awareness both among the populace and healthcare practitioners in Nigeria about foot care for people living with diabetes. The practice of examining the feet of diabetes patients during visits to the clinic is yet to be embraced by a large number of doctors and other caregivers in the country while patients lack basic knowledge to prevent foot ulcer. The practice of treating wounds and ulcers at home remains rampant.
“The cost of managing foot ulcer or performing amputation is enormous and always well beyond the reach of the average patients.
“Although diabetes care is obtained at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of health care in the country, a large number of patients with foot problems present too late to the tertiary facilities mostly at a stage where amputation remains the only option to save their lives,” the participants said.
The communique, therefore, appealed to as a matter of urgency embark on public enlightenment on foot care education to prevent avoidable limb loss and death.
“This is crucial as research has shown that diabetes foot care education impacts greatly on the prevention of DM foot and also reduces the risk of lower extremities amputation and mortality. When offered early, foot care education remains the easiest, least expensive and most cost-effective way to prevent foot ulcers and death.”