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World Diabetes Day - 14th November

Education and Prevention - Let’s Take Control of Diabetes Now

Malta joins the Global Community in celebrating World diabetes Day. This day has now been established in our calendar of events and its is progressively getting stronger in its aims and objectives to promote Education and Prevention of Diabetes in our pollution.
Published data on Incidence of Diabetes in Malta places us high on the list of those countries with a high incidence rate. Our incidence for Diabetes in Malta is being stated as being 10%, according to local and international statistics. By the year 2025, it is predicted that the incidence rate will rise up to 11.6% which equates to the number of cases rising more than 30,000. This will have a significant effect on the our health care budget.
New Data from the international diabetes federation are showing that a staggering 285 million people worldwide have Diabetes in 2011 and that this figure will explode to 435 million people by the year 2030.
In terms of costs, the IDF predicts that diabetes will cost the world economy at least US$376 billion in 2011, or 11.6% of total world healthcare expenditure and that by the year 2030, this number is projected to exceed US$490 billion.

How is Malta acting on these data?
In Malta, our health care system provides that people with diabetes are entitled to free treatment. The Diabetes clinics in Mater Dei and Peripheral clinics cover 95% of patients with Diabetes in Malta. Hence we are in an ideal situation to carry out preventive and education in this area. We have in place a Shared care program.
This Shared Care Diabetes program is now in its 3 rd year running and is effective in all health centers. Patients with Diabetes are being referred from Mater Dei to be followed up at primary care against and established protocol designed between consultants and primary care physicians. An average of 12 patients is seen every day in all health centers and the waiting list for new cases varies between 1 to 2 weeks. This program has seen the introduction of two screening services that are part of the routine follow up, namely screening for diabetic retinopathy and the diabetic foot. We also have a patient education system in place for these patients.
This program is further enhanced by the use of computer software integrating mater Dei Hospital with diabetic clinics in all health centers. The data from this program is being collected and forms part of the B.I.R.O project i.e. the building a Shared European Diabetes Information System.
In all we have a potential of generating more than 20,000 appointments per year for patients with diabetes at primary care level and so, decrease the waiting list from Mater Dei. Patients are seen at least twice a year at the diabetic clinics by the General practitioners and once yearly by the Specialists. Specialists at Mater Dei are left to see difficult cases which need their expertise in this field and allowed more time. So far more than 3000 patients have been transferred from Mater Dei for follow up at Health Centers and the number is expected to increase substantially.
General satisfaction is high among these patients who prefer to be followed up in the community because they have frequent access to health care professionals and access to specialist at Mater Dei is also facilitated through this shared care program. This program is also contributing to the decrease in the rate of foot and leg Amputations and Blindness as a complication of Diabetes.