Building on the previous success of education and awareness activities, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently joined the American Diabetic Awareness Alert Day to promote Diabetic Limb Salvage and launch a nationwide Awareness Campaign themed 'Early diagnosis leads to early intervention: save a leg, save a life'.
The initiative was aimed at educating the general public and specifically diabetic patients at risk of feet ulcers and leg amputation
The initiative was aimed at educating the general public and specifically diabetic patients at risk of feet ulcers and leg amputation, increasing their knowledge of signs and symptoms of this disease, and encouraging them to take care of their own feet.
Diabetic foot is a substantial public health issue that affects people worldwide. Statistics show that twenty-five percent of people with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). Limb salvage is the endeavour to save a limb from amputation, such as the foot.
Dr Mohamed Soliman Elakkad, vice-chairman of surgery department at HMC, said: "Skin ulcers are at the root of the great majority of diabetic foot problems that lead to amputation. However, we can avoid up to 85% of amputations if these ulcers are detected early and treated appropriately. Education, prevention, and diagnostic services remain at the frontline of the battle against feet ulcers."
He further explained that foot ulceration is undoubtedly one of the most significant and dreaded consequences in people with diabetes. The lifetime risk of DFU is between 19 and 35%. Despite recent advances in diabetic foot care and wound control, many people with DFU end up having their lower extremities amputated (LEA). Hence, "The knowledge of an interdisciplinary team that provides integrated care centred in a diabetic foot clinic is highly required for a successful management and significant outcomes." Dr Elakkad added.
Dr Rashad Alfkey, director, Wound Care Services, HMC highlighted the importance of education. He said, " As healthcare professionals, we should inform patients with diabetes who have a high risk of DFU about the significance of regular foot care and monitoring and self-protective behaviour, such as selecting appropriate footwear. Other people, such as family members, must be able to do a daily foot inspection and essential duties such as nail clipping if the patient has physical limitations prohibiting movement or cognitive issues."
Dr Rashad concluded that evidence repeatedly shows that multidisciplinary foot teams enhance DFU outcomes. For example, one study revealed that total amputations decreased by 70% after improvements in foot care services, including multidisciplinary teamwork, over 11 years.
The campaign took place on March 29, 30 and 31 at Hamad General Hospital (HGH). Present at the opening ceremony of the campaign were Ali al- Janahi, HMC’s acting assistant managing director and chief of Tertiary Hospitals Group, and Dr Yousef al-Maslamani, medical director, HGH. It brought leaders and healthcare professionals from HMC to share their knowledge and expertise on foot ulceration, diabetic foot pathology, and other related issues. They also discussed the latest information about the prevention and early detection of such a devastating disease. The campaign featured several educational activities, including lectures and interactive talks in Arabic and English.
There was an educational booth at the main entrance of HGH to inform patients and their families, visitors and staff about the signs and symptoms of foot ulceration and educate them about the importance of prevention and early detection in reducing the risk of this disease and saving lives.
Educational materials, including leaflets and brochures, were distributed.