Dattatreya Sane, 81, a retired railway employee, is learning to walk all over again. In August, the Mahim resident had to have his right foot amputated, after he developed a serious infection owing to diabetes.
Sane, who has been suffering from diabetes for 32 years, underwent an operation for a fracture in January and developed a wound that refused to heal. “By the time I consulted a diabetologist, it was already too late,” he said.
Sane said that many doctors and diabetes patients are unaware of the gravity of the diabetic foot problem. If not treated in time it could require amputation and even lead to death. “Awareness could save many diabetics from losing a limb,” he said.
Noting that diabetic foot management is not a specialty in the medical curriculum, the Diabetic Foot Society of India (DFSI) and two Denmark-based organisations have started conducting day-long training for post-graduate medical students and paramedics across India.
The three-year project was started in September from Sion Hospital and has so far covered medical colleges in Kolkata, Cuttack, Bhuvaneshwar, Hubli, Chennai, and Bengalooru. “The medicine curriculum has not been updated to incorporate the latest treatments,” said Dr Arun Bal, founder president, DFSI.
World Diabetes Foundation and Access to Health Care are helping with the ‘DFSI National Wound Care Project’, which will cover 2,880 postgraduate medical students and paramedics from Medical Council of India approved medical colleges.
DFSI faculty members and faculty from local medical colleges will train fifty postgraduate students and paramedics from each of the selected colleges. The teachers will monitor the students for a year.
The training will cover basic knowledge about diabetic foot ulcers and their manifestations, treatment options, prevention and newer technology for better management. “We expect students to train other doctors and paramedics,” said Dr Bal.
“Diabetes per se, does not cause a lot of trouble, but leads to complications such as the diabetic foot. Walking bare foot, lack of awareness, as well as delay in treatment make this problem severe,” said Dr Tushar Rege, surgeon, SL Raheja Hospital.
In 2007, DFSI had compiled national guidelines for management of diabetic foot.