Bahrain plans $5.3m diabetes centre
Manama, October 30, 2010
A new BD2 million ($5.3 million) diabetes will be set up at Bahrain’s Salmaniya Medical Complex, aiming to reduce and ultimately eliminate limb amputations due to chronic diabetes, said health officials.
The centre, the first of its kind in the GCC, is being set up by the Health Ministry with expertise from the Austrian Wound Healing Society.
Society president Dr Thomas Wild said the centre would not only look at training local doctors, it would also accept those from other parts of the region.
"Bahrain has, by far, the best infrastructure where such a centre can be successfully run and we are very encouraged with the way things are going," he said. "Preliminary discussions we have had with Health Minister Dr Faisal Al Hamer have been very fruitful and he has promised all assistance."
Dr Wild and a team of experts are in Bahrain to conduct a 'train the trainer' workshop for wound management.
Several SMC specialists in wound management are attending the workshop.
"A telemedicine project is already up and running between Bahrain and the society's Vienna headquarters," said Dr Wild. "Specialists from Bahrain can upload pictures of patients' wounds and medical reports to get expert opinion from a team of specialists in Vienna and elsewhere. This makes diagnosis better."
He said that the centre was expected to examine between 500 to 1,000 patients initially, but this would reach between 4,000 and 6,000 patients in the coming years.
"The initial cost will be BD2m, but it may also go up as time passes," said Dr Wild.
SMC consultant vascular and renal transplant surgeon Dr Sadiq Abdulla said Bahrain had already taken great strides in wound management for diabetics, which resulted in considerable decrease in cases of amputations.
"In 2003, we had 22 major amputations in three months (73 in the whole year); but the figure was only 10 last year. This is a huge achievement," he said.
However, Dr Abdulla said there were still 50 to 60 minor amputations per year such as toes, a figure he hoped they could be dropped. He said diabetics, in particular, should be extra careful of their feet since high glucose levels can damage nerves resulting in abnormal or decreased sensation.
Dr Abdulla said a procedure to measure pressure in the feet had been introduced which tested those at increased risk of developing such conditions.
"It is painful to see so many people lose their feet to diabetes. They should look out for cracks, bleeding in the skin, red streaks or other signs of infection," he said. "They should examine the inside of their shoes before putting them on and look for small pebbles, torn leather or nail pops which could irritate their skin."
He urged anyone with an ulcer, bleeding feet or a foul odour should contact a doctor or chiropodist immediately. – TradeArabia News Service