October 7, 2011
Help coming for treatment of diabetic foot ulcers

Minister with responsibility for Health, Cecil Mckie, has said that very soon, medication will be available here for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.{{more}}

McKie made the disclosure on Monday, October 3, while reporting on his visit to Cuba, as part of a seven-member government delegation from September 10 to 15.

The press conference was held at the Ministry of Health Conference room.

According to McKie, one of the most exciting parts of his the visit was the discovery of the existence of a new medication for persons suffering from diabetic foot ulcers.

Mckie said that in the past, persons have complained about the lack of treatment for individuals suffering with diabetic foot ulcers, which may eventually lead to amputations. According to Mckie, amputation will soon be eliminated because of the new treatment.

He said that foreign minister Dr. Douglas Slater, who was part of the visiting team to Cuba, visited a medical complex that deals with the provision and manufacturing of medicine, and it was discovered that the medication is used to treat persons suffering from diabetic foot ulcers and is commonly known as ‘diabetes feet’.

“I think we are all aware that there is a serious problem with amputation here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and persons would develop foot ulcers which would eventually cause them to have amputations.

“This medication has been tried and proven, because it has been tested and worked on many patients (an estimated 11,000 persons) in Cuba and Venezuela,” McKie further explained.

He said the medication is applied to the affected area of an individual, and in a few weeks’ time, fresh flesh replaces the old flesh that was infected.

The Minister further added that an analysis will be done in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as to the number of persons who suffer from diabetes and need the medication. Upon completion, a medical team from Cuba will visit the island to do their own analysis as well.

“This would be a giant step for us, once this medication is made available for Vincentians,” the health minister said.

It was not disclosed when this new medical initiative will come on stream, but according the Mckie, “this will be very soon”.

The new medication, which is known as Heberprot-P, is a novel and unique medicine indicated for diabetic foot ulcer treatment (DFU). The innovative product contains epithermal growth factor (EGF) as active pharmaceutical ingredient (APhI) to be applied by intra-lesional infiltration directly in the wound site. The therapy with Heberprot-P fills the gap of an urgent unmet medical need for the treatment of complex DFU.

The Minister also told the media that while in Cuba, he met with Vincentian medical students as well as the 60 persons pursuing their Bachelor’s degree in Nursing there.

“The students that are studying the doctor’s program in Cuba, we had discussions with them and shared with them the various developments taking place here, and they, in turn, shared how their studies there are progressing and the challenges they face and how we can deal with these challenges,” McKie stated.

The health minister proudly reported that the persons in the Nursing programme are among other Caribbean students who are doing extremely well in their studies.

“Their average is above 95 per cent, which is a glorious achievement, and they were the best of the other Caribbean territories studying there,” the Minister noted. (AA)