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Local Amputees Getting Help

Image: Limb care specialist Claudin Mathurine.

Healthy Lifestyle Seasons at no cost.

THE first in a series of workshops and activity sessions aimed specifically at assisting local amputees and their caregivers is now underway with overwhelming support.

The Limb Loss Outreach and Diabetes Education workshops allows those with missing limbs to connect with local health care professionals and sport and recreation leaders to promote a healthy lifestyle at no cost and forms part of chAMPS, one of the first inclusion and healthy well-being programmes in the Eastern Caribbean to focus specifically on people with disabilities in the form of limb amputations.

Image: Limb care specialist Claudin Mathurine.
Limb care specialist Claudin Mathurine.

“This is indeed a momentous occasion,” said Merphilius James, President of the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD). “We are delighted to partner with the Sacred Sports Foundation to undertake this programme.”

Supported by the Australia High Commission’s Direct Aid Programme (DAP) and Sacred Sports Foundation Inc (SSF), chAMPS is an adaptive sports, recreation and rehabilitation programme specifically aimed at people who have become physically disabled, primarily due to amputation caused by diabetes and hypertension and will provide a structured sports-based rehabilitation programme, public education campaign and accompanying limb care awareness workshops.

Thursday, February 16 saw the start of island wide activities that brought together the NCPD and the St. Lucia Diabetes and Hypertension Association (SLDHA).

“We have been working with persons with disabilities for five years now,” said Nova Alexander, Executive Director of the Sacred Sports Foundation. “This extension with the support of DAP, is an important and vital step in assisting our amputees.”

As well as receiving advice and care from SLDHA limb care specialist Claudin Mathurin, the amputees were treated to activity sessions with physiotherapist Kimberley Charlery. Retired health educator – Sister ElvinaRaveneau, conducted blood glucose testing and treated the gathering to an informative session of diabetes prevention and care.

The Limb Loss Outreach and Diabetes Education workshop took place in Vieux Fort on Tuesday.

There is a high prevalence of lower-extremity amputations in St. Lucia, which has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. The chAMPS programme has begun engaging a little thought of but sizeable population and provides an innovative new inclusive community programme aimed at shedding popular negative stereotypes.

A public education programme began several weeks ago on social media and WAVE radio station.

Diabetes is among the leading causes of both morbidity, with 40% of Caribbean mortality resulting from cardiovascular diseases related to hypertension and diabetes.

St. Lucia recorded 131 amputees in 2013, of which 129 were as a result of diabetes. In 2014 there were over 10,200 people with diabetes and 100 persons with amputations as a result. By May 2015, there were already 41 limbs amputated due in large part to the obesity ravaging ailment.

The programme’s three main areas of activity are: A limb care awareness programme/workshops; A public education programme focusing on inclusion of peoples with disabilities; A sports-based community rehabilitation, exercise and activity programme.

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