Shortage of foot doctors in Brunei

National 1 minute, 42 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THERE is an increasing demand for more foot doctors or podiatrists in Brunei to cater to the growing population, said a doctor at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital.

Dr Norafizah Hj Zaine, a podiatrist specialising in diabetic foot problems, said there is a shortage of podiatrists in Brunei.

“Currently, there are only eight podiatrists to cater for the whole country.

“With the population of Brunei estimated at over 429,000, the ratio of podiatrists is about one to 54,000,” she said in a recent interview.

Dr Norafizah said the demand for more foot health provisions will increase as the Bruneian population becomes larger.

“Lack of awareness on foot health may lead to the development of foot problems in the population and foot ulcers or amputations in high risk individuals such as those with diabetes that are preventable,” she added.

Dr Norafizah said there is a need to increase public awareness in Brunei on the types of foot problems such as callosities, ingrown toenails and bunions as well as the importance of proper footwear.

She said the media and foot health campaigns can assist in raising awareness and providing information on podiatry and foot-related problems.

“Many students are unaware of the podiatry profession,” said Dr Norafizah when she was asked regarding the lack of podiatrists.

“A career in podiatry can be promoted through career talks or exhibitions and educational hospital visits or attachments. This will help to attract potential students in pursuing an undergraduate degree course in podiatry,” she added.

It was previously reported that a total of 85 initial patients out of 400 visitors to the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital’s Podiatry Unit were treated for diabetic foot ulcers from June to November 2015.

Initial patients refer to new cases or cases that have been treated and cured in the past, but symptoms have returned.

Citing the International Diabetes Federation, she said the national diabetes prevalence estimate in Brunei was 10.7 per cent of the population in 2010 and expected to rise to 13.4 per cent by 2030.

The Brunei Times