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Belize Diabetes Association of New York Sponsors Podiatric Clinic at KHMH Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 13 October 2011 00:00

Members of Belize diabetes Association and Belize Diabetes Association of New York.Members of the Belize Diabetes Association of New York are currently in the country and they brought along two podiatrists to hold a clinic at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

The Belize Diabetes Association of New York has been operating since August of 2010. Their mission is “to identify and address the needs of Belizeans with Diabetes by: Prevention, Maintenance (Education, Nutrition & Medication), Wellness and minimizing”. The non-profit organization has raised funds through a number of activities over the past year. The main fundraising drives were a trip to Atlantic City and a roof top Gala at one of the members’ home. The group was seen providing water and sharing information at this year’s New York Park Fest.

The group used the proceeds of the events to sponsor the visit of two podiatrists. Vanessa Jenkins-Young, President of the Belize Diabetes Association of New York, said that they chose to bring the podiatrists because many people living with diabetes do not understand the importance of foot care in dealing with the condition. Podiatrists graduate from a college of podiatry with a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. Though they are not medical doctors, they do complete residencies and can perform surgery and prescribe medication for your feet. Every person with diabetes should pay careful attention to the systems of the body that diabetes can directly and adversely affect. According to the American Diabetes Association those are the cardiovascular system, the renal system (kidneys), the eyes, and the feet. It is recommended that every patient with diabetes have at least an annual check on all of these systems.

Here in Belize we often relate diabetes with amputation. It is true that diabetes is by far the leading cause of non traumatic amputation in this part of the world but by taking proper care of the feet this number can be reduced. Peoplewith diabetes can have severe, even life-threatening foot problems. This is because diabetes also affects the circulatory and nervous systems of the body. It can cause decreased foot blood flow, decreased healing potential, decreased infection fighting capability and numbness of the feet. According to Dr. Jason Bruse of Intermountain healthcare, “It is entirely possible that a diabetic could step on a nail, and being numb, not even know it. Then follows a severe infection (which he may not be able to fight well), decreased healing potential, decreased blood flow, and problems can spiral quickly.  Often this patient may not even realize he stepped on a nail for a few days, by then a severe infection has set in and the problem is serious.” He said that every diabetic should have a podiatrist.

On Monday alone the podiatrists saw 24 patients. They treated corns, calluses, foot sores and other infections that could lead to more serious problems. The members of the association that were present at the clinic are Vanessa Jenkins-Young (President), Georgia Uter-Marshall (Treasurer)), Sheree Burgess (Secretary) and Clay Young (Member). Members of the group said they felt compelled to get more actively involved in the development of the homeland. They said it felt like time to get up and act instead of just writing a cheque to an organization. Mrs. Young said, “If writing a cheque is all you can do then by all means do that but if you can do more to develop your country then it is your duty to do so.” The members of the association paid for their own trip to Belize. They used the proceeds from fundraising events to pay for the podiatrists’ trip and supplies they need for the mission. The association wishes to thank the Radisson for providing a complimentary room for the podiatrists, Chateau Caribbean for services provided and Mr. and Mrs. Dean fuller for sponsoring a caye trip. They also wish to thank all their supporters in New York.

It was a big week for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. According to a press release from the institution, it was the first time in the history of the institution that three clinics sponsored by non-governmental organizations were being held in the hospital during the same week. Those three clinics are a paediatric general surgery clinic by the World Pediatric Project, the Cardiac Catheterization Clinic, headed by Dr. John Cedarholm MD, FACC, Invasive Cardiologist based at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Podiatric Clinic sponsored by The Belize Diabetes Association of New York.