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'Leap' Takes Fight Against Diabetes-Related Amputations To The Family Islands

By FELICITY INGRAHAM

Foot and Ankle International is expanding its LEAP programme to the Family Islands, with the first partnership being established in Abaco. LEAP (Lower Extremity Amputation Prevention) was devised by former Cabinet minister podiatrist Dr Daniel Johnson to attack the alarming amount of amputations that occur in the Bahamas due to diabetes.

In his latest efforts, Dr Johnson teamed up with the Bahamas Diabetic Association for a "new and exciting" project which will allow Abaconians to attend the Austell Medical Centre for free diabetic foot screenings weekly. He visited the Austell staff, providing training and advice to ensure that the programme called "Show Me Ya Feet" runs smoothly.

Clinical Director Angie Collie showed keen interest in the partnership and in being able to provide some level of free preventative care for diabetics in Abaco. Her staff also received the project well, and it is now underway, with patients visiting the centre each week for screenings, advice and tips to protect their feet from amputation.

LEAP aims to reduce the number of amputations due to diabetes in the Bahamas to 50 per cent over the next five years. Dr Johnson has teamed up with the Spectrum Surge Centre in New Providence and is joined by doctors such as Dr Stephen Dorsette; Dr Joe Fox, a podiatry specialist from New York City with more than 44 years of medical experience, and Dr Stan Kalish in Atlanta, whose revolutionary surgical procedures on limbs resulted in "the Kalish osteotomy" in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery.

The international team recently visited the Turks and Caicos Islands, exploring partnerships there, with an aim to take the LEAP programme regional. This is important due to the high rate of diabetes in the Bahamas and the Caribbean region. The aim is to provide clinics around the region with enough support necessary to provide diabetics with the knowledge they need to avoid having to have their lower extremities amputated.

Dr Johnson told Tribune Health that he was especially pleased to launch the Family Island programme in Abaco, because of his ancestral roots. His grandfather, the late E P Roberts, educator and nation builder, hailed from Green Turtle Cay, Abaco. Foot and Ankle International is located on Dean's Lane, atop Fort Charlotte, and can be found online at www.footandankleinternational.com.

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