Footwear the key to kicking diabetes

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Footwear the key to kicking diabetes

A new initiative providing shoes for Indigenous Territorians battling diabetes is kicking serious goals.

The initiative has seen NT PHN team up with Darwin Podiatry and Sunrise Health Service to support access to affordable and comfortable footwear for those affected by diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Foot care is a crucial part of diabetes management, particularly in remote and rural areas of the Northern Territory, where healthcare access can be limited. For many, the cost of enclosed shoes can be prohibitive and significantly impact their quality of life.

Darwin Podiatry’s Emma Vogt said “it might not seem like much, but a pair of enclosed shoes can make a huge difference.”

These stories come from the remote community of Ngukurr, 3.5 hours’ drive from Katherine:

Roland Lansen (pictured), who works as a driver at the Ngukurr Health Centre, has benefited from the program. Walking was becoming increasingly difficult with his shoes falling apart after 5 years of use. Roland welcomed the new pair of enclosed shoes, so his feet are well supported while working with the health centre.

A female community member who has also experienced positive changes. Between walking throughout the community and working wore out the first pair of shoes quickly. She is very happy to have adequate shoes on her feet again. 

Similarly, another female community member had difficulty walking after a brain haemorrhage. Her altered gait made wearing thongs uncomfortable and impractical, as they would fall off frequently. After receiving enclosed slip-on shoes, she can move more comfortably and safely, with more support and protection for her feet.

“It’s great to hear these amazing success stories and the significant impact that such a small change, such as appropriate footwear can have on people’s lives,” said NT PHN Workforce Access lead, Michelle Pollard.

This initiative is made possible through collaborative funding from NT PHN (Medical Outreach Indigenous Chronic Disease and Integrated Team Care Supplementary Services Program Funding) and delivered as part of our Outreach program in conjunction with Darwin Podiatry and Sunrise Health Service.

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