In Africa, incidence and prevalence rates of diabetes are increasing and foot complications are rising in parallel. The predominant risk factor for foot complications is underlying peripheral neuropathy, the occurrence of peripheral arterial disease is rising. Infection and gangrene are two of the more serious squeal of diabetic foot ulcer disease that cause long-standing disability, loss of income, amputation, or death. Unfortunately, diabetes imposes a heavy burden on the health services in many African countries, where resources are already scarce. Reasons for poor outcomes of foot complications in various less-developed countries include the following: lack of awareness of foot care issues among patients and healthcare; very few professionals with an interest in the diabetic foot or trained to provide specialist treatment; non-existent podiatry services; long distances for patients to travel to the clinic; delays among patients in seeking timely medical care, or late referring of patients for specialist opinion; lack of the concept of a team approach and absence of training programs for healthcare professionals. There are ways of improving diabetic foot disease outcomes that do not require an exorbitant outlay of financial resources. Cost-effective education should be targeted at both healthcare workers and patients. These include implementation of sustainable training programmes for health care professionals, focusing on the management of the complicated diabetic foot and educational programmes that include dissemination of information to other health care professionals and patients. One of these programs is the Step by Step Foot Project, which was piloted and carried out in Tanzania and India.
Information about the discussion leader
The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Zulfiqarali G. Abbas, Endocrinologist, Diabetologist, Chairman of the Pan-African Diabetic Foot Study Group and of the International Working Group of Diabetic Foot - Africa Region; he is also Executive Board Member of Internal Working Group of Diabetic Foot.