Around 200,000 children born each year are affected by clubfoot, with 80% of these in low and middle income countries. Without treatment, the condition becomes ‘neglected clubfoot’, a painful and severely disabling deformity. However, in up to 95% of cases, clubfoot can be treated successfully using the Ponseti method of treatment, especially if this is initiated early.
A new two-year project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) will strengthen training and delivery capacity for clubfoot treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. Starting in March 2015, the Africa Clubfoot Training (ACT) Project will support existing clubfoot treatment programmes through training a new cadre of national clubfoot trainers in 15 countries.
The ACT Project aims to strengthen partnerships between clubfoot service delivery partners within Ethiopia and across the region. A team of UK NHS, Ethiopian and regional African trainers will design and develop training materials for a standardised clubfoot provider and instructor course. The courses will be piloted in Ethiopia, bringing together senior clubfoot practitioners from across the region, including orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists and clinical officers, to review the new instructor course materials and to enhance their training.
In addition, the project aims to improve treatment for children with neglected clubfoot, and will review the outcomes of non-surgical treatment of this condition at CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital over two years.
Photo: Before and after treatment for clubfoot.
The ACT Project is a partnership between the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences at the University of Oxford, CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital, CURE Clubfoot, Global Clubfoot Initiative (GCI), CURE International UK and local ministries of health.
Scott Reichenbach, Operations Director for CURE Clubfoot, said of the project, “We are excited and grateful for the unique opportunity to bring together clubfoot leaders from across the region with a team from Oxford, GCI and CURE to design and develop a training tool that can be replicated across sub-Saharan Africa. This grant provides an avenue to teach the Ponseti method throughout a region, bringing us closer to a day when children born with clubfoot no longer face a life of disability.”
This project is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through a Health Partnership Scheme grant awarded by Tropical Health Education Trust, for the benefit of UK and partner country health sectors.
Contact: Professor Chris Lavy
Tel: 01865 737543
© Images courtesy of CURE Clubfoot