Diabetic foot infection led to around 600 amputations each year between 2012 and 2018, according to CMO Dr. Roshan Parasram. He noted that Type 2 diabetes affects 14.8% of Trinidad and Tobago’s population, or 148,900 people.

According to Parasram, who spoke at a symposium on Diabetic Foot Infection: Moving Forward in Prevention and Management on Tuesday at the Hilton Trinidad, diabetes management costs US $50 million per year, according to Parasram. He went on to say that 3,586 amputations (85.87 percent) were performed in public facilities, whereas 590 (14.13 percent) were performed in private facilities. According to him, the male-female ratio was 1.2 to 1.

“Afro-Trinidadians accounted for 47% of amputations, or 1,962 patients, whereas Indo-Trinidadians accounted for 42%, or 1,899 patients, and others accounted for 11%.” Amputations above the knee happened in approximately 55.06 percent of patients, or 2,299 people, whereas amputations below the knee, including toes and feet, occurred in 44.94 percent, or 1,877 individuals.”

According to Parasram, 352 amputations were performed in 2018, with 30% occurring in the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA), 28% in the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), 16% in the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA), and 26% in the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) (SWRHA).

During the 2021 pandemic, 449 amputations occurred, with the NWRHA accounting for 39%, the NCRHA accounting for 18%, the ERHA accounting for 14%, and the SWRHA accounting for 29%. Care is accessible in primary health centers, with diabetic foot clinics in Santa Cruz, El Socorro, and Arima, according to Parasram.

“Traditionally, we waited until someone became ill before intervening, and because diabetic clinics are so congested, we spend very little time looking at their feet.” Sickness screening and prevention must be explored, using testing that is both accessible and affordable.” Addressing the problem of noncommunicable illnesses is one of Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s strategic goals for the next two to three years (NCDs).

He warned that TT’s resources would be depleted if it continued to treat the symptoms of NCDs without addressing the causes. According to him, diabetes-related foot problems accounted for around 14 percent of admissions and 29 percent of bed occupancy at public health facilities, totaling approximately 900 beds.

“TT must be involved in behavior change.” The medicalization of health care, in which every sickness is addressed with a pill, is one source of the problem. This phenomenon, promoted by pharmaceutical firms, is one of the worst things that has ever occurred to health when combined with people’s abdication of personal responsibility for their health.” Deyalsingh noted the TT Moves project, which urged people to get moving and be more active, as well as drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables, as one of the government’s preventative efforts.

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