WORLD FIRST PRIMARY CARE CONFERENCE COMING TO CAPE TOWN
The International Footcare Foundation will host the first ever ‘Primary Care Conference’ at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 7 – 10 July 2014. With diabetes a serious and growing illness in South Africa, the organisers plan to undertake pre-diabetic screening of at least 10,000 people at grassroots level with a family history of diabetes or a BMI greater than 25-28.
As recently as 2013, the Centre for Diabetes & Endocrinology in Johannesburg placed the number of South Africans currently suffering from diabetes as high as 3.5 million (6% of our population), with an additional five million suffering from pre-diabetes. Further, the incidence of diabetes in Africa is set to double by 2030 due to a number of factors including urbanisation, culture and obesity.
“Early diagnosis is key,” says Joye Janari, Director, International Footcare Foundation. On average, people suffering from diabetes are only diagnosed five years after they have developed the illness. “By this stage, the effect on the body is almost irreversible,” adds Janari.
The pre-diabetic screening will involve offsite eye and blood tests by appointed opticians and Pathcare depots for 10,000 people prior to the event. During conference week, foot screening for all 10,000 participants by medical professionals will take place at the CTICC together with the hosting of workshops and life coaching; all focused on the facilitation of holistic and healthier lives through education and empowerment. Support from both the World Diabetic Foundation and corporate sponsors will enable this pre-screening to be offered at a nominal cost, thereby realising the goal of reaching pre-diabetic sufferers at grassroots level.
But as vital as the importance of pre-screening is, so too is the role that proper podiatry care plays in significantly reducing diabetes related amputations. “Amputation figures in South Africa are as high as 250,000 per year,” says Janari, with life expectancy of an individual reduced by five years per amputation. “This is often the family breadwinner and so apart from a significant effect on the quality of life of the amputee, the economic and social ripple across families and communities can be crippling.”
Janari, originally from Athlone in the Western Cape and now residing in the UK, has a number of years’ experience in the practice of podiatry. Currently studying podiatry surgery at Manchester’s Salford University, Janari is passionate about the valuable role that both early diagnosis and proper podiatry care can play in the lives of diabetics and pre-diabetics. With the South African government no longer involved in the provision of foot care services, Janari has made it her life’s work to raise awareness for this in South Africa whilst simultaneously providing easily accessible and cost-effective primary care facilities to communities across the country.
“Currently South Africa has one podiatry school, situated in Johannesburg,” says Janari. “By February 2016, our goal is to have extended facilities to include a podiatry school in the Western Cape together with 300 podiatry clinics across the province.” Multi-disciplinary in nature, these clinics will provide convenient and cost-effective access to a range of medical and healthcare services ranging from General Practitioners and Pathcare facilities through to dieticians, diabetic specialists and biokineticists. In addition, these clinics will bring with it the creation of thousands of jobs.
“Job creation and skills empowerment is as important a focus as the raising of awareness and treatment of diabetes,” continues Janari. “Whilst the very real opportunity exists to encourage life changing choices, so too does the opportunity to transfer the skills needed to enable this thereby facilitating job creation and empowerment on a greater level.”
The Cape Town Primary Care Conference will include a conference programme hosting medical seminars on various diabetic related issues. Delivered by both local and international speakers, the line-up includes the likes of Dr Mosaref Ali, qualified medical doctor with further studies in complementary and traditional medicine, who has treated the likes of international celebrities and various royal families. Dr Ali is also the author of ‘The Neck Connection’, based on a revolutionary discovery and first in medical history. Ms Nutan Shah,specialist in podiatric sports injuries, biomechanics and diabetic foot care and podiatrist to the England Senior Football team, Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace FC. Dr Tariq Khan, Consultant Podiatrist and Director, Marigold Clinic; Dr Danny Meetoo, Lecturer, Salford University and Mr Richard Leigh, Head Podiatry and Cluster Chair, Royal Free Hospital. In addition 300+ exhibitors involved in all aspects of the health and foot care industry, including products and services, will be available to both delegates and the general public.
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About The International Footcare Foundation
The International Footcare Foundation is a Non Profit Company (NPC) which aims to provide foot care training to people interested globally so that they can serve their communities with their new skills, aiming to empower people with a new skill to aid employment in order to enable their financial sustainability.