Diabetic patients in Fiji continue to increase

13:30, March 14, 2011      

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Some 300 diabetes patients undergo amputations every year in Fiji and the trend is worrying the authorities.

This is according to research carried out by the country's Physiotherapy Associations which shows that majority of these amputations occur in the 40 to 60 age group, physiotherapist Lusia Tikolevu told radio FijiVillage website on Monday.

Tikolevu said that they are trying to formulate a protocol for physicist to better understand diabetes in Fiji.

A visit to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Fiji's capital city of Suva by Xinhua reporter reveals the increasing number of bed ridden patients affected by diabetes in wards.

Tikolevu said that diabetes is a prevalent disease and needs the involvement of the whole community for a successful preventative measures.

Shocking figures show four out of every 10 people in Fiji have diabetes, putting it amongst the highest in the world.

The Fred Hollows Foundation in New Zealand that completed the first survey of its kind in Fiji also showed the diabetic rate in the island nation is four times more than in New Zealand.

The survey across 34 communities in Fiji found 40 percent of the people have diabetes.

"When we found out that 40 percent of the population had diabetes the scope and the depth of the problem just hit us. The impact in terms of costs family aspects, economic issues its just going to be staggering," says Doctor Tom Schaefer from the New Zealand foundation.

The survey results also showed a third of those with diabetes did not know they had the disease and women were almost twice as likely as men to have it.

The magnitude of the problem is worrying for a health system which has committed staff but little resources.

"The cost of medication alone is going to outstrip the ability of any health system to do it," says Schaefer.

The existence of the sugar cane industry in the island nation may be a contributing factor to the high level of diabetics.

Source: Xinhua
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