Dr. Hamza Asumah and the Hope for Diabetic Foot project team performing an amputation of gangrenous 2nd and 3rd toes of a diabetic patient. Photo/Dr. Hamza Asumah.
At least three hundred thousand persons living with diabetes are expected to undergo free diagnosis, management, and treatment under the Hope for Diabetic Foot project by the Abenkyiman Hospital in the Bekwai distrct of the Ashanti region of Ghana.
This was announced at the launch of the project by the Founder and Managing Director of Hope Surgical Foundation, Dr. Hamza Asumah, a Senior Resident in Trauma/orthopedic surgery at the hospital.
Hope for Diabetic Foot project, aims to conduct medical and surgical outreach programmes and ensure that patients living with the disease do not develop the unpleasant complications of the foot.“Patients with diabetes, if monitored and followed up closely especially looking out for early signs of diabetic foot, stand a great chance of limb salvage, preservation of limb function and reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with this disease”, Project Coordinator for the Hope for Diabetic Foot project, Dr. Asumah said in an interview with www.zamireport.com.
A surgeon is trained to perform surgeries and it takes a self-conviction and passion for a practicing surgeon to dedicate his time to prevention. For him the many limbs he amputated in the past from the beginning of his practice as a general surgeon to a Senior Resident in Trauma/orthopedic surgery triggered a new desire, to reduce the incidence of lower limb amputations from diabetes complications.
Prevention is the preserve of public health practitioners but the surge in the number of lower limb amputation recorded in Ghana in 2018 according to a research Diabetes-related foot disorders among adult Ghanaians triggered the desire to identify a remedy.
The study which comprised 7,383 patients discovered a trend towards an increased incidence of diabetic foot in an outpatient tertiary diabetes setting in Ghana. It thus recommended, “Systemic and individual-level factors aimed at preventive foot screening as well as vascular risk factor control should be intensified in diabetic patients in Ghana and other LMICs.”
The project, with funding support from the Lions Club International–hopes to serve as the missing link between the patients and education.
It plans to achieve its target by engaging all healthcare providers, community opinion leaders, and households to enable them capture and follow up effectively on all individuals through; community and household-based education, diabetes clinics in various community hospitals, diabetes screening outreaches, and structured media (radio and television) engagements.
District Governor of district 418 of the Lions Club, Lion Helen Maku Obeng, revealed diabetes was chosen because it’s a growing epidemic across all cultures which makes its lines of global network of volunteers uniquely suited to help in the fight against it.
“On the fourth of July 2017, the Lions Club International-the world largest service organization announced that it will modernize its forty-seven thousand service clubs in over two hundred countries and geographical livings around a new signature course-the global diabetes epidemic. It therefore unveiled diabetes as the new focus for its 1.4million members during its centenary convention in Chicago-USA.”
The Lions Club International subsequently partnered hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to introduce diabetes prevention and lifestyle interaction programmes to help raise awareness about type two (2) diabetes and also aim to prevent or delay onset in people at risk of which the Hope for Diabetic Foot project suits–“The Abenkyiman hospital is found worthy of the support due to its location and the fact that it has poor road network, lack of funding, lack of basic healthcare. Lack of education has negatively impacted on the healthcare delivery in this community.”
“The objectives for this project, Hope for Diabetes Foot is to expand and improve diabetes diagnostic and manage services in underserved regions by equipping the Abenkyiman Hospital to treat diabetes and diabetic complications” Lion Obeng added in a speech.
The administrator in-charge of diabetes at the Lions Club, Dr. Sabastian Nafrah admonished residents within the project’s catchment areas to fully participate in all activities lined up for the two years project.
“If we’re to educate people, teach them some important things and they do not come out- the challenges will be so clear, that we’ll be speaking to empty chairs and tables. All of you here are stakeholders. Become the mouthpiece of this project. It’s not for the Lions club, it’s not for the Techiman hospital, it’s for everybody within the threshold” said Dr. Nafrah.
Speaking in one of Ghana’s local dialect twi, Dr. Nafrah appealed to the traditional rulers and custodians of the area to urge their subjects to commit to the implementation of the project.
“Please Nananom, do encourage all your subjects to attend the programmes we’ll be having in the future”, he pleaded.
The Lion Club has over one million branches globally making it the world largest service organization with presence in over two hundred countries.
Setting himself as someone living with sugar level health complications, the Bekwai Municipal Director of Health Services, Mr. Clement Nii Boateng debunked some long-held myths about diabetes.
“The medical condition for which we’ve gathered can be found in my family and I can tell you that even I who is the municipal director of health services suffer that condition”, he revealed.
“But it is preventable-we’re usually are told that rich people who consume overly balanced meals and the aged are those who get diagnosed with the condition but now as we’ve been made known, diabetes is no respecter of social class”, Dr. Boateng reiterated.
He reiterated the need for external support for quality healthcare adding the government alone cannot meet the demands of healthcare while appreciating the effort by the Lions Club in bridging the healthcare gap in the district.
“Diabetes is manageable so please, let’s desist from allowing people’s perceptions deny us from early treatment which will cause lifetime regrets. Today, there are abundance of care for diabetic patients and if we’re fortunate to have one right here, then we have to avail ourselves.”
Mr. Boateng also added his voice to the call for collaboration and the participation of all stakeholders to ensure the project reaches its target.
“We can sustain this initiative only when we all come onboard. I urge all the members of the assembly to attach the same level of importance to its previous projects.”
The patient with diabetic foot.
Diabetes has for so many years been a one of the most poorly understood chronic medical conditions especially in the African Population.
The systemic adverse effects of poorly controlled blood sugar as a result of the above has compounded the problem of the patient with diabetes. Notably among these adverse effects is the occurrence of Diabetic foot ulcers which not only cause an aesthetic problem but also a significant functional limitation to the individual.
Most people with this condition as a result of poor management have lost significant limb function and, in most cases, have lost limbs. Death as a result of this has also become very common.
These unfavorable outcomes have largely been due to unavailable funds/income by patients to enable them access the right care for this complication. Relatives of these patients have also abandoned most of them mostly because of the smell associated with this unfortunate condition.
Patients with diabetes, if monitored and followed up closely especially looking out for early signs of diabetic foot, stand a great chance of limb salvage, preservation of limb function and reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with this disease.
Patients will be managed appropriately based on stage of disease all with the aim of primarily preserving life, limb salvage and optimizing affected limb function.