IDF estimates that one person loses a limb to diabetes every 20 seconds. Now a new multi-stakeholder initiative has been launched by the Federation, aimed at improving foot care for people with diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa. The Diabetes Africa Foot Initiative (DAFI)  will develop a sustainable foot-screening programme. Dr Evariste Bouenizabila and Dr Silver Bahendeka, Co-Chairs of the project, outline DAFI in more detail.
Complications on the increase
The Africa region is experiencing a dramatic rise in the number of people with diabetes. The undiagnosed rates in particular have skyrocketed and IDF estimates that up to 80% of people in the region with diabetes remain undiagnosed.
Unfortunately the increase in diabetes is accompanied by the increase in deadly diabetes complications such as diabetic foot. Despite current efforts to reduce the number of those affected, the impact in lowering foot complications has remained small.
A vision for sustainable foot care
The DAFI programme will strive to lower the rates of lower extremity amputations in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Ultimately we hope to develop a comprehensive, affordable and sustainable foot risk stratification model combined with an early intervention strategy.
Responses to the project so far have been positive and we hope this will continue throughout the region.
Taking language and culture into account
DAFI recognises the cultural and socio-economic diversity of the Africa Region and is designed to accommodate other existing foot care projects within the region, without duplication.
The selection of the countries was based on those countries willing to partner with IDF and its partners, but more importantly those centres that had local champions in diabetic foot management. Ten countries in total have been selected, split evenly between English- and French-speaking countries.
Other criteria included being associated with an IDF member association, being an established diabetes clinic, having the support of the Ministry of Health and the ability to engage the local community in a diabetes care programme. More countries will be added to the project as the tools are refined and training targets achieved.
DAFI is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by IDF. Project partners include IDF Africa Region, the University of Johannesburg, Université Senghor, Université Numérique Francophone Mondial and Sanofi Diabetes.