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New posters on diabetes risks

New posters on diabetes risks focus on Maori and Pacific Island groups

Maori and Pacific Island people account for 32 percent of diabetes-related lower leg amputations, but the majority of these amputations are preventable if sufferers take special care of their feet. To alert these groups to the dangers, Diabetes New Zealand and diabetes medication manufacturer, sanofi-aventis, have produced a special series of posters in Maori and Pacific Island languages around the theme “Feet can last a lifetime.”

In the year ended 30 June 2004, Ministry of Health figures show there were 516 lower limb amputations for people with diabetes in New Zealand: 112 (22%) were for Maori, and 51 (10%) for Pacific people.

“The number of amputations for Maori and Pacific people is unacceptable when, with basic diabetes management and care, between 50% and 85% of diabetic foot amputations can be prevented,” says Murray Dear, President of Diabetes New Zealand.

Sanofi-aventis has recognised that these communities have a growing number of people with diabetes and has worked with Diabetes New Zealand to raise awareness of diabetic foot problems amongst at-risk Maori and Pacific groups.

“The key message of the posters is to alert people with diabetes to look after their feet as prevention is the first step towards solving diabetic foot problems,” says Mr Dear. “In particular, people with diabetes need to avoid getting cuts and sores, which can eventually result in amputation because of the nerve damage and circulation problems they may suffer.”

The posters, which are in electronic format, can be downloaded in Maori, Cook Islands Maori, Niuean, Tongan and Samoan from

There are 116,000 people diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in New Zealand, with another estimated 115,000 undiagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and 300,000 at risk of Type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes are at risk of nerve damage and problems with blood supply to their feet which can lead to foot ulcers and slow-healing wounds. Amputation may be the outcome of infections in the wounds.

Sanofi-aventis is the manufacturer of Lantus, a medication for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.


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