Members of the local medical fraternity are calling for dedicated public diabetic clinics in Barbados.
This call was made by local nurses and doctors at the recently concluded Step-by-Step programme; which was held at the headquarters of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO); and coordinated by the Barbados Diabetes Foundation and the Ministry of Health.
The two-day seminar themed ‘Basic Care for Improving Foot Care in Barbados,’ focused on strengthening the skills and enhancing the knowledge, of local primary health care providers, on the diabetic foot and diabetic foot care.
The seminar was made up of a series of presentations, group and practical sessions. Participants were trained on the principles of basic foot care education as well on basic foot and wound care.
The proposal for dedicated diabetic clinics was one of several suggestions emerging from the participants following a group session.
The recommendation was provided as a measure to alleviate the current strain on the public healthcare institutions “to be all things to all persons.”
It was felt that in order to achieve the programme’s ultimate goal of reducing amputation in Barbados by 50% a strategy should be created which included plans for centres of diabetic care.’
Dr. Ingrid Cumberbatch, Medical Officer explained that these dedicated clinics would have an assigned clinical team – comprised of psychologists, podiatrists, cardiologists and other specialists.
“The clinics would be responsible for administering all necessary diabetic care and providing other support services such as psychological assessments. Patients would be able to receive holistic treatment of the body and mind, fromhead to toe.
Medical staff would be able to focus on caring for the specific challenges encountered by diabetics – such as mental illness, vision problems, infertility, impotence, nerve damage, patient nutrition foot care and a host of other issues. “
Coordinator of the Step-by-Step programme, Ms. Simone McConnie, told the participants that plans are being put in place to work with the government and other relevant stakeholders to establish diabetic care clinics.
“However, what is needed right now is proper data recording and collection. This data would assist in clearly demonstrating the need for streamlining diabetes patient care and the need for a diabetic clinic.
We can say that there is this need based on our experiences but without the relevant data to back-up our claims, we cannot expect to achieve our goals. We cannot go to government with a wish list but we need to go with undeniable facts.”
The Chief Operations Officer of the Barbados Diabetes Foundation explained that a common assessment form has been created which is to be used by all health care institutions – both public and private.
“The form will assist improving patient care and certainly help us to measure the success of the Step-by-Step programme.”
Other concerns expressed by the participants included the need for increased staffing, equipment as well as education for doctors, nurses and patients on diabetic care.
The Step-by-Step programme is a joint initiative of the Rotary club of Barbados South, Rotary of Ledbury, UK; The World Diabetes Foundation, Barbados Diabetes Foundation, the International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot affiliated with the International diabetes Federation and the Barbados Ministry of Health.