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Clubfoot training course in Yangon Myanmar, May 2019, led by Jim Turner, with support from ICRC

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.

The global surgery team at NDORMS, led by Prof Chris Lavy, is active in developing training and research for management of clubfoot, to help improve outcomes and quality of life for children born with this condition.

Over the last year, the new standardized clubfoot training resource package that NDORMS developed (Africa Clubfoot Training) has been used by to train hundreds of healthcare workers around the world, including the Philippines, Honduras, Sierra Leone, Myanmar, Iraq and Ecuador. The ACT training package was originally developed through a Health Partnership Scheme project funded by UK Department of International Development. Over 50 expert clubfoot practitioners in Africa gave their input and expertise during the consultation and pilot phases. The ACT materials have been translated into French, Portuguese and Spanish. In March 2019, the first clubfoot train the trainer course in Spanish took place in Ecuador, to develop a new group of trainers for Latin America who can train new clubfoot practitioners.

Although the ACT materials were originally designed for use in clubfoot programmes in Africa, where there is a shortage of trained healthcare workers able to treat clubfoot, they have also been used worldwide, and in the UK in the past year (courses in Bath, Manchester and London) to train NHS healthcare workers in clubfoot treatment. We collaborated with the UK Clubfoot Consensus Group to slightly modify the ACT course for the UK clinical environment, and are delighted that the UK version of the ACT course was accredited in October 2018 by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

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, with additional generous public support through the University of Oxford OxReach crowdfunding campaign, and from MiracleFeet.

Find out more about our clubfoot research here.

Recent publications related to Africa Clubfoot Training:

The development of a training course for clubfoot treatment in Africa: learning points for course development (2018)

The feasibility of a training course for clubfoot treatment in Africa: A mixed methods study (2018)