Two legs are amputated every week and 104 every year at the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) and the Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH) from 2016 to 2018, due to diabetic foot sepsis, said Consultant Surgeon, Dr. Basil Leodoro.
Leg amputation is the surgical removal part of the leg above the knee. The youngest patient diagnosed with diabetic foot sepsis was 28-years-old.
Dr. Leodoro said patients with diabetic foot sepsis could likely present with other complications on brain, heart, kidney and numbness in parts of body.
Diabetes has been a long time health burden, but it is unfortunate that the number of cases are not represented in the national statistics, he stressed.
“It is important that the National Statistics Office conduct a national demographic health survey on the number of people with diabetes. This will enable us as a country to plan how to manage the disease,” he said.
“At the moment, we do not have accurate diabetes figures. If we cannot find the real number, we cannot plan for the future.
“Everyone is worrying about the current COVID-19 pandemic. Diabetes was here before COVID-19 and will still remain once our borders reopen.”
Diabetes is one of the major types of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). It is said that majority of the deaths in Vanuatu are caused by NCDs. There are different types of diabetes with different causes.
Dr. Leodoro urged citizens to go to hospitals and check their sugar levels.
“High Blood sugar is not normal, it can lead to serious health problems. Fatigue (feel weak or tired), frequent urination and weight loss are signs that your blood sugar may be high,” he explained.
“You must seek medication or check-up before it’s too late. Diabetes does not respect anyone, whether you are a Member of Parliament (MP), a Director, Director General, even a doctor, chief or pastor.
“I know its worrying to get one of your leg amputated but anyone be infected with diabetes. I do not want anyone to end up in the theatre too late.
“Those who are already suffering from high blood sugar must check-up regularly. Listen to health advices and always stay healthy.
“We must choose ‘aelan kakai’ over junk food to stay healthy and avoid illness. We must stop consuming sugary food and drinks, such as coca-cola and splashe. Reduce harmful alcohol consumption and do physical exercise.”