Around 10 million children in Pakistan will have diabetes in the next 10 years, warned Prof Abdul Basit, the chairman of the Pakistan Working Group on Diabetic Foot (PWGDF). He added that while there was no accurate data about it, the situation was critical as a majority of people were unaware that their child could be diabetic.
“We need to have a curriculum with information about diabetes,” he said while speaking at Karachi Press Club on Thursday. “Our children use computers and sit in front of the television for hours. They don’t get enough physical activity at school or at playgrounds. They need as much as they can get.”
Diabetes and children
Prof Iqbal A Memon, the president of the Pakistan Paediatric Association, disagrees with Prof Basit’s numbers but agrees that poor nutrition and obesity increase stress levels and given the environment children are growing up in, do increase their chance of becoming diabetic.
He claimed that there were 25 million babies born in the country every year and the one way parents could protect their children from getting the disease is to avoid giving them candy, soft drinks and other kinds of junk food. He said that it was essential for parents to change their own lifestyle for their children.
At the press club, Prof Basit was briefing the media about the Diabetic Foot Symposium being held at Hotel Regent Plaza from August 22 (today) to August 24. The PWGDF has organised the three-day symposium in collaboration with the Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology.
Over 300 healthcare professionals from different parts of the country will share their experiences at the symposium.
One of the topics that will be under discussion is amputation. According to health experts, around 40,000 people lose their lower limbs because of diabetes across the country every year.
“After a major amputation, 50 per cent of the people will have another limb amputated within two years,” said Prof Basit. “Diabetes is just like a heart attack or breast cancer. There are four million people in Pakistan who have had foot wounds due to diabetes.” He added that for a healthier population and future, it was important to raise awareness about the disease.
“There are about seven million people in Pakistan living with diabetes,” said Dr Zahid Miyan, head of the symposium’s organizing committee. “Foot complications are among the most serious and costly ones. Around 85 per cent of leg amputations are preventable through timely and efficient foot care.” He added that several diabetes-related leg amputations in the country took place because of a lack of awareness about diabetes and a shortage of trained health care professionals.
“Foot care is one of the biggest challenges for our healthcare system,” said Prof Basit. “Trained foot care assistants are working across the country and looking at diabetic feet in the country but we need more. We have been conducting countrywide training programmes and have established 115 diabetic foot clinics where we have been able to halve the amputation rate.”
Prof Basit added that Pakistan still needed at least 1,700 foot care clinics as over seven million people will have diabetes in next couple of years.
According to Dr Miyan, by the time most patients get to the hospitals their situation is quite serious and there is no option but to amputate.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ