By Treezer Michelle Atieno
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) and Clubfoot Care for Kenya (CCK) have signed an MOU that will enable free treatment of Club foot in Kisumu and the surrounding regions.
The two parties agreed to utilize the Ponseti Method to successfully implement, deliver, and ensure the accessibility and sustainability of quality clubfoot treatment services.
In the agreement, JOOTRH will serve as a referral point for clubfoot treatment within the region, conducting scheduled weekly clubfoot treatment clinics for patients, focusing on children born with clubfoot disability and providing care and treatment to any child diagnosed.
JOOTRH will also provide clinicians trained in the Ponseti Method, for consultation.
Cluis impossible birth deformity in which one or both feet are turned inwards and downwards, making it impossible for children to stand on the soles of their feet. It occurs in 1 to 4 live births and is a frequent birth deformity in Kenya, affecting about 1,653 annually. Clubfoot can be mild or severe.
Affected children face the risk of living with a disability, pain, stigma, exclusion, rejection, limited life opportunities, and loss of hope. Although there is no cure, there is a solution. A child’s clubfoot can be corrected before he or she takes their first step by using the Ponseti Method of treatment- the accepted standard for Clubfoot treatment globally.
The method involves using gentle manipulation and weekly cast changes followed by a minimally invasive out-patient procedure to lengthen the Achilles tendon (tenotomy). Clubfoot can be corrected within 6 to 8 weeks and maintained with bracing, primarily at night and nap time until the age of five.
CCK is committed to providing quality plaster, padding, and Foot Abduction Braces for the treatment of participating clubfoot patients. They will also offer continued training for health workers from the Partner Clubfoot Clinic in the treatment of Clubfoot using the Ponseti Method.
In the agreement, CCK will also provide a trained clinic Parent Advisor to work collaboratively with the medical team, supporting patients and families, encouraging patient compliance throughout the treatment, and supporting overall clinic functioning and record keeping.
Key stakeholders are currently coming up with a sensitization strategy for early detection and referral.
Clubfoot Care for Kenya (CCK) is a nonprofit organization and an affiliate of Hope Walks International, which has existed since 2005. CCK works in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK), Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), among others to reach its overall goal of reducing disabilities caused by clubfoot.
Currently, 23 partner clinics exist in 16 counties running weekly clubfoot clinics. Approximately 13,600 children have received treatment through the partner clinics. Patients receive treatment at a minimum cost, courtesy of Hope Walks and other donors.