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Changing lives of children with clubfoot in Haiti

26-09-2011
A man in a hospital (wearing hospital uniform) with bandages
© CBM/ Shelley
A medical professional prepares bandages to wrap the legs of a child with clubfoot at Adventist Hospital in the Carrefour neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti

CBM, in partnership with Cure International, has started implementing a three year programme in Haiti, which aims to provide treatment to an estimated 600 children born annually with clubfoot in the country. This will include creation of treatment centres, training of technicians, surgeons and consultants, and education of the community. More than 500 treatments sessions have been administered since the beginning of this programme.

Clubfoot worldwide

Clubfoot is a congenital condition that severely twists the foot or feet downward and inward, making walking difficult, painful or impossible as a child develops.

One out of every 750 children born in every country in the world - regardless of race or geographic region - suffers from clubfoot. Over 220,000 children, in the developing world are born each year with clubfoot.

With early detection and fairly simple intervention clubfoot can be completely corrected. Read more about clubfoot and the Ponseti technique.

Clubfoot programme in Haiti

Because there are no hospitals specialising in the treatment of clubfoot in Haiti, CBM, in partnership with Cure International, has started implementing a three-year clubfoot programme which aims to provide treatment to an estimated 600 children born each year with clubfoot in the country.

Through these treatment centres, children who are born with clubfoot can prevent the development of long-term disability.

The main components of this programme are:
  • Creation of six treatment centres in strategic areas spread throughout the country
  • Training of technicians, surgeons and consultants to the Ponseti method of treatment, which uses casting and in some cases incisions to reposition the developing foot
  • Education of the community about the problem of clubfoot and where people can receive treatment

Correcting clubfoot deformity

Plastic models of bandaged legs/feet with clubfoot ©CBM/ Shelley
Models of how bandages are used to correct clubfoot at Adventist Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Consultation sessions with trained clubfoot technicians are held weekly in communities across the country (Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Jacmel, Cap-Haitian and Les Cayes).

Dr. Alexis Francel, an orthopaedic physician specialising in the treatment of clubfoot in this programme, states that “more than 500 treatments sessions have been administered since the beginning of this programme in January 2011. Every Wednesday we get between 40 and 50 children aged 0 to 2 years in our clinic at the Hospital Adventist d’Haiti in Carrefour, Port-au-Prince. For corrections, we use the Ponseti method. It consists of a series of application of Plaster of Paris (PoP) on clubfoot until the final correction. Our goal would be to treat all children born with clubfoot here”.

Information and technical network

Through the clubfoot programme, a network of doctors, technicians and advisers will support children with clubfoot and their families. Young people from different regions where the programme is implemented have attended different training sessions in counselling. These volunteers will assist parents in the process of treatment through provision of information and counselling support.

"Education is important to prevent recurrence. Some parents do not follow the whole process of treatment because of lack of information. Advisers are also there to work with them to ensure that the various processing steps are followed" said Dr. Alexis Francel.

Cure International

As of 2010, CURE International has treated over 19,000 children born with clubfoot. It is involved in 141 hospitals in 16 different countries. (Data provided by Cure International – www.cure.org)

Related articles

Clubfoot and the Ponseti technique

Information about the congenital condition clubfoot and its treatment using the Ponseti technique

02-06-2011


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