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Diabetes amputations four times higher in Cyprus than EU average

Amputations due to diabetes in Cyprus are four times higher than the numbers in Europe, MPs heard on Thursday.

Lawmakers at the House health committee were told the reason was there are no organised diabetes centres in Cyprus coupled with a lack of education.

The committee also heard on Thursday that in the coming months, medicines for diabetics, which were not included in Gesy so far will now be included.

MPs continued the discussion on the problems Cyprus faces in terms of the care of people with diabetes mellitus, the need to update the national strategy and the introduction of state-of-the-art medical devices in Gesy.

The chairman of the committee, Efthymios Diplaros, in his statements after the session said that they had listened and recorded all the views from both the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) and the health ministry “and I must say that what has been said is in the right direction,” he added.

“The health ministry has indicated to us that it will proceed with the preparation of an action plan, which will include costing of these actions and implementation schedules.”

Diplaros added that another 18 to 20 people who were dealing with the pandemic, will from September only deal with the support of children and who suffer from diabetes.

He said the ministry has initiated procedures for securing equipment and consumables pending completion of the procedures by the HIO.

The decision covers the needs of consumables for children up to 18 years old with diabetes type 1. He said that the tender has already been registered, contracts have been signed.

Members of the committee agreed that until this tender is awarded, the families of patients should be assisted either with an allowance or financial assistance to procure what they need.

Opposition Akel  MP Nikos Kettiros said that promises were also made that things would move forward in terms of access to medicines.

“During the discussion, something very important and serious was mentioned concerning the amputations in Cyprus, which are four times higher than the numbers in Europe,” he said.

“The reasons why there are four times as many amputations are that there are no organised centres dealing with diabetes and the fact that education is non-existent. Typically, there are patients who go to the hospital with an advanced problem leading to amputation and the diagnosis of diabetes is made at that moment.”

The state, he said, has a responsibility and should embark on an awareness campaign.

Centre-right Diko MP Chrysanthos Savvides said they were told at the meeting, the reference hospital for this issue was Larnaca general hospital.

He said there was no special unit to deal with advanced diabetes. Usually, he said, the only people who know about the hospital service are those who live in the district.

“That is, they do not get proper information and most of them realise that they have a diabetes problem only when they go to the hospital,” he said.

“And when they go to the hospital they are at a terminal stage where they need to be amputated.” He said a boost in awareness was needed.

In a statement, socialist Edek MP Andreas Apostolou said deputies had set a specific timetable.

“All stakeholders have understood their responsibilities and I am optimistic that with the acceptance of the proposal, in October or November the House health committee will again discuss this issue. In four to five months from today we will be on track to implement what I have mentioned,” he said.

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