KARACHI - Like elsewhere in the world, amputation of lower limbs due to diabetes is the leading cause of disability in Pakistan where according to an estimate, three to four hundred thousand people are annually losing their feet and legs because of ‘diabetic foot ulcers’, which is a serious but preventable cause of lower limb amputations, experts said on Saturday.

“In 2005, one person was losing his or her lower limbs due to diabetic foot ulcers every 30 seconds somewhere in the world but at the moment this rate has increased and now every 20 seconds one amputation is being carried out somewhere in the world. Almost same is the situation in Pakistan and as per our estimates, three to four hundred thousand people annually lose their lower limbs due to diabetic foot ulcers in Pakistan,” said Prof Abdul Basit, Chairman of International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region while speaking at two-day Nadep Diabetes Footcon 2019 which started here on Saturday.

4,000 people losing feet, legs in Pakistan every year

Dozens of national and eminent international health experts working in the field of diabetes and its complications including diabetic foot ulcers including Prof. Dr. Roberto Anichini from Italy, Dr. Zulfiqar G. Abbass from Tanzania, Dr. Salma E Khuraibet from Kuwait as well as several others from United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and other countries of Middle East and Africa are attending the Nadep Diabetes Footcon 2019 with a focus to create awareness about diabetic foot ulcers and its prevention to reduce amputations in Pakistan.

Prof. Abdul Basit, who is also the Director of Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE), Karachi maintained that at least ‘3000 diabetic foot clinics’ are required throughout Pakistan to reduce amputations due to diabetic foot ulcers and to prevent the country from “becoming a disabled nation”.

“In Sindh, we have spoken to the provincial health department and have offered them to train their doctors so that they could provide training to healthcare providers and experts operating in rural areas where diabetes prevalence was as high as in the urban areas”, he added.

The eminent dialectologist further said prevalence of diabetes in Balochistan had increased up to 60 percent, more than double the overall prevalence of diabetes in Pakistan which is around 26 percent and called for more comprehensive studies to ascertain the causes of such a high prevalence of diabetes among people of Balochistan.

“Overall diabetes prevalence in Pakistan is 26 percent but unfortunately, it is around 60 percent in Balochistan, which is very alarming. The reason behind such a high prevalence of diabetes in Balochistan according to local doctors is restricted movement of people due to law and order situation and absence of recreational facilities in the under-developed province of Pakistan”, said Prof. Dr. Abdul Basit, Chairman of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region while talking to newsmen at the sidelines of an international diabetes conference on Saturday.

The IDF official maintained that in addition to restricted moment and lack of recreational facilities in Balochistan, there is need to conduct scientific researches as to why people of Balochistan are more prone to have diabetes genetically as compared to people of rest of Pakistan.

“We conducted two researches in Hub town of Balochistan where we found diabetes and obesity on the rise among general population but there is a need to conduct comprehensive studies in entire Balochistan,” Prof Abdul Basit maintained.