You can save a child from permanent disability due to clubfoot. Clubfoot is a congenital deformity that affects 1-3 of every 1,000 babies worldwide.
Clubfoot causes a baby's feet to be turned inward and downward. Left untreated, it causes severe deformity that results in painfully crippling, lifelong disability. Children who grow up with clubfoot may compensate for the condition by walking on unsuited portions of the foot, including the ball of the foot, the outside of the foot, and even the top of the foot in extreme cases. These children also frequently experience painful arthritis.
The physical conditions are debilitating enough — add to that the emotional frustration of being unable to move and look like other children, and untreated clubfoot becomes a severe obstacle to normal, healthy child development.
In developed countries, clubfoot is rarely visible because children born with this condition are treated promptly after birth, preventing disability. In developing countries, clubfoot is the single most common congenital cause of physical disability. The condition often goes untreated because local health workers don't recognize and don't know how to treat it.
The nonprofit organization Mobility Outreach International trains doctors in the Ponseti treatment method for clubfoot — a low-cost, low-tech treatment endorsed by international groups including the World Health Organization. This non-surgical early intervention occurs while the child is still an infant, and has a 94% success rate. Clubfoot is corrected gradually with a casting phase, followed by a special shoe that braces the foot. The treated feet look and function normally into adulthood.
Mobility Outreach International provides for the medical treatment, labor by trained in-country medical health professionals, and even a small travel allowance for the parents of the children in some countries - critical in connecting patients who live in very poor areas with providers who can help them.
For just $25, you can help provide a significant portion of clubfoot treatment for a child. You can completely treat a child, freeing him or her of the condition forever, for $200.
Report from the Field
Lam Thi Bao Thi, the youngest of 3 children, was born in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam with bilateral idiopathic clubfoot. Thinking they had to take Lam Thi to Ho Chi Minh City for care, her family delayed her treatment in order to save money for the transport. However, Lam Thi's parents learned from neighbors that a nearby provincial hospital in Can Tho province had started providing treatment with the Ponseti method of clubfoot treatment. At 9 months of age, Lam Thi was able to receive treatment for her clubfeet. Doctors at Can Tho assured Lam Thi's parents that she would be able to walk but they were not certain. Now, they are relieved that their daughter's feet have been corrected and are determined for her to wear the brace as directed for the next 4 years so as to avoid relapse.
Mobility Outreach International, formerly Prosthetics Outreach Foundation, seeks to ensure that children and adults with limb loss or limb deformities in developing countries have access to high-quality orthopedic and physical rehabilitation services so that they can enjoy lifelong independence and mobility.
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