Good News on the Diabetic Foot

The Diabetic Foot Symposium at the VASSA Congress yesterday was a great success. It marked the launch of DFWG, the Diabetic Foot Working Group.

This is a voluntary association which will serve as the overall representative body to promote awareness and optimal management of people with diabetic foot problems in South Africa. Its objectives include the prevention of amputation, promoting academic standards and the establishment of relationships amongst role players.

I have applied to join this group and I hope that it will be instrumental in developing a fully multidisciplinary  approach to the diabetic foot. The big challenge is to prevent some of the awful foot complications associated with diabetes in South Africa.

Also at the congress, Dr. Slabbert & Dr. Allard presented some data on a Lower Limb Amputation Survey in a South African Regional Hospital, which showed that, in their hospital, 74% of patients losing a leg for vasculopathy (disease of the blood vessels) are diabetic. (This by the way is in the first 6 months of 2007!!)

Through our practice we have set up a ‘virtual’ multidisciplinary diabetic foot clinic, where  as the podiatrist I can refer patients to a vascular surgeon, physician, opthalmologist, dietician and diabetes nurse educator. I say ‘virtual’ because although we are not all in the same place at the same time, we have quick access to each as required.

They said that "an intensive diabetic foot programme is necessary to decrease the amount of amputations performed in South Africa.


Andrew has taught at the University as well as providing podiatry services in South Africa since 1977. Twice chair of the Podiatry Association of South Africa and a commentator on care of your feet on both radio and television he now works in private practice in Cape Town and Hout Bay.