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Foot Without Pain campaign to shine spotlight on debilitating peripheral neuropathy nerve disease
Source: Action Group , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Thu November 30, 2017 11:13 am

KUWAIT. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) is a nerve damaging condition of the lower limbs that affects more than half of diabetics worldwide and causes an average of 54,000 lower-limb amputations globally every year.

With approximately 399,000 diabetics in Kuwait, the prevalence and risk of DPN in the country is 39 per cent.

The Kuwait Diabetes Society (KDS) and the leading biopharmaceutical company Pfizer launched on Sunday (26 November) Qadam Bella Alam (Foot Without Pain), a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of diabetes and DPN, and demonstrate to sufferers that there is support for them.

DPN which affects the feet, legs, hands and arms, is extremely serious as it can strike at any time, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, and leads to numbness, loss of sensation and sometimes pain in the feet, legs and hands. The longer a person lives with diabetes the more prone he is to DPN. If left untreated the condition can have serious consequences that could result in amputation.

Under the campaign tagline, Qadam Bella Alam (Foot Without Pain), the widespread initiative will highlight the condition and dispel the commonly-held myth that foot and leg problems associated with diabetes are caused by poor blood circulation to the lower limbs.

‘Foot Without Pain’ was derived from the urgent need to tackle diabetes and address the serious nature of DPN particularly because it affects the limbs that are critical to a person’s way of living.

“Studies show that about 60 to 70 per cent of people with diabetes will eventually develop Peripheral Neuropathy, though not all will experience pain,” said Dr Walid El Dahi, head of the KDS.

However, through the Qadam Bella Alam campaign, we aim to highlight that this potentially nerve damage is not inevitable and that with a proactive approach from all concerned we can reduce the risk and prevalence of peripheral neuropathy in Kuwait.

“Our feet have driven us to where we are now, and they are an integral part of our life that we should protect. There are many diabetics around us whose feet are at risk, added Dr El Dahi

“This is why we are here today, and this is why we are launching our campaign, ‘Foot Without Pain’ so we can take a step forward, to mobilize diabetics to get their feet checked.

“Our goal is to foster a default thought process within communities so diabetics will naturally go and get their feet checked regularly, and we want to make foot examinations a priority for healthcare professionals, especially endocrinologists. We aim to engage a wide segment of society, highlighting what can be done to mitigate the risks and provide expert care for those living with it and how they can best manage it.”

"The partnership between the public and private sectors plays an important role in spreading awareness in Kuwait society. The successful joint alliance between the Ministry of Health, the Kuwait Diabetes Society, and Pfizer led to this great awareness campaign Qadam Bella Alam (Foot Without Pain)." he added.

Dr. Ahmad Al Shatti, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of Health stated: “The State of Kuwait provides the necessary health care to the Kuwait society, and offers more than 120 health centers in various areas; which are only ten minutes away from any patient in case of any emergency or periodic examinations."

“Kuwait has one in five people suffering from diabetes, so this interactive campaign was launched in order to raise awareness about this disease, share valuable knowledge, as well as providing the society with important information allowing them to know more about the relation between peripheral neuropathy and diabetes in addition to ways of how to avoid it." He added.

"There is no doubt that this campaign will have a significant positive impact over the long term in terms of spending on health care services, the health of the population as a whole as well as it comes within the framework of our joint alliance to achieve a healthier and happier future for the Kuwait society" concluded Dr. Al Shatti.

Dr Jassim AlHashel, Head of Neurology at Ibn Sinai Hospital and Head of the Kuwait Neurology Society, added: “Nerve damage shows itself differently in each person with Peripheral Neuropathy. Some people feel tingling, then later feel pain, others lose feeling in their toes. These changes happen over a period of years, so people might not even notice it. People tend to ignore the signs and just think it is a sign of ageing”

Through the awareness drive and extensive outreach activities, KDS and Pfizer will emphasize that foot problems are often caused by nerve damage and that even if feet look healthy it is important to visit a physician for routine checks. Additionally, the message will reinforce that while keeping glucose levels within the target area is important, it does not fully negate the risk of DPN.

The initiative will include educational and awareness posts on social media to engage as many people as possible; flyers outlining DPN as well as a questionnaire will both be presented to patients and visitors at health centers. Informative posters and various branding elements stressing on the campaign message will be placed around health centers to draw more attention to the issue.

Physicians and healthcare professionals who specialize in diabetes will be aligned with the initiative to share their knowledge and expertise and encourage those living with diabetes to undergo regular foot examinations to assess the risk of DPN. The awareness drive will also stress on the importance of implementing lifestyle changes that can significantly reduce the risk of DPN, such as quitting smoking, dramatically reducing sugar intake and taking regular exercise.

“Through this engaging initiative we aim to educate and enhance awareness, and advise on the best treatment while encouraging those who might be showing signs of Peripheral Neuropathy to take a proactive approach and visit their physician.  Working together we can change perceptions and attitudes,” said Dr, Mohamed Fawzy , the PIH Gulf cluster lead.

Photo Captions:
1. (above)  Dr Jassim AlHashel, Head of Neurology at Ibn Sinai Hospital and Head of the Kuwait Neurology Society
2. (inset)  For illustrative purposes only (File photo)

 

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