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More than 30,000 children in Africa are born with clubfoot each year. Many thousands of these children get no treatment, as it is simply not available where they live. They end up with severe deformities that make it hard and very painful to walk.

NDORMS is celebrating World Clubfoot Day, 3 June, which is the birthday of Dr Ignacio Ponseti, who developed the simple Ponseti treatment for clubfoot, which is successful in up to 95 per cent of clubfoot cases, especially if this is initiated early. This involves gently manipulating the feet to a better position and putting them in a cast.

 

NDORMS leads the Africa Clubfoot Training project, which has developed a new set of clubfoot teaching materials to train healthcare workers across Africa, through a Health Partnership Scheme grant from the UK Department of International Development. Over 50 expert clubfoot practitioners in Africa gave their input and expertise during the consultation and pilot phases. Since the materials were published in June 2017, the Africa Clubfoot Training materials have been used (in English and French) in Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Ethiopia,  Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Togo, Niger, Senegal, Cameroon, DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, Burkina Faso and Madagascar.

 Clubfoot casting

In 2016, NDORMS led a University of Oxford OxReach crowdfunding campaign which raised a further £83,000 to support roll-out of clubfoot training in Africa, which has supported translation of the materials to French and Portuguese, and two clubfoot instructor training courses. The most recent course was held in April 2018 at CCBRT Hospital in Dar es Salaam,  hosted by the Tanzania Clubfoot Care Organisation, to train 20 local healthcare workers in providing clubfoot treatment, and 18 new trainers/mentors from clubfoot programmes in Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Rwanda, Benin, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Malawi, Nicaragua and Burundi. 

 

Prof Chris Lavy, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who leads the ACT project, said: ‘We are delighted to celebrate World Clubfoot Day and raise awareness of life-changing treatment for clubfoot. It has been great to work together with many dedicated colleagues and supporters to help train more health professionals who can provide life-changing care to children born with clubfoot – we are really excited that many more children will be able to access effective treatment, so that they can walk and lead a normal life.’ 

 

Although the materials were originally designed for use in clubfoot programmes in Africa, they have also been incorporated into training UK healthcare workers in clubfoot treatment, and have been used in Cambodia and Myanmar in the past year. They are now being translated into Spanish for use in Central and South America. 

ACT meeting

We are very grateful for all the tremendous support from UK NHS and international volunteer instructors, contributors to the course materials, clubfoot clinic staff, and funders towards this work.

The ACT Project is a partnership between the NDORMS, CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital, CURE Clubfoot, Global Clubfoot Initiative (GCI), CURE International UK and local ministries of health, supported by the UK Clubfoot Consensus Group. The initial funding was from the UK Department for International Development. The Tanzania course in April 2018 was generously co-funded by MiracleFeet and the OxReach Africa Clubfoot Training campaign.