NGO seeks free clubfoot treatment integrated into health system

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By Justina Auta

An NGO, the Nigeria Partners on Clubfoot Treatment has called for the integration of clubfoot treatment into the public health system to treat the 10,000 cases recorded annually in the country.

The President of Nigeria Clubfoot Treatment Partners and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Peace Amaraegbulam, made the call in a message to mark the World Clubfoot Day.

Clubfoot is a musculoskeletal birth defect that causes the feet to turn inwards and upwards.

World Clubfoot Day is celebrated every June 3, to raise more awareness on clubfoot and the need for early detection, referral and timely treatment.

The teme of the celebration is “Empowering Life: Steps to Clubfoot Freedom”.

Amaraegbulam, who is also a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, described clubfoot as the most common musculoskeletal birth defect.

”No child should endure the preventable disability of untreated clubfoot.

“In Nigeria, over 10,000 children are born with this condition each year, and without treatment, walking becomes extremely difficult and painful as children walk on the sides of their feet.

“This leads to discrimination, social stigmatisation, and loss of economic opportunities.

“We call on government and health institutions to integrate free clubfoot treatment into Nigeria health system, to enable the treatment to be more accessible.

“Philanthropists should also consider giving towards the cause of providing free treatment for the clients, especially the neglected older children,” Amaraegbulam said.

According to her, Ponseti treatment, which entails a systematic series of casting and orthotic bracing treatment that permanently and non-surgicallly correct clubfoot is effective in treating young children.

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She, however, noted that out-of-pocket healthcare costs; poor access to healthcare facilities; inadequate numbers of healthcare professionals; and lack of foot-abduction braces as barriers preventing Nigerian children from accessing care.

Amaraegbulam said that the Nigeria Partners on Clubfoot Treatment, consisted of three NGOs – The Straight Child Foundation, HANDS, and Positive Care and Development Foundation in collaboration with MiracleFeet, that ensured that children with clubfoot received care locally.

“These three organisations in Nigeria operate clubfoot clinics in select states.

“To avail yourself of the free clubfoot treatment, Kindly locate the clinic nearest to you in the state where you reside.

“The clinic schedules specific days for treatment, ensuring children receive the necessary care and support for clubfoot correction,” she said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Florence Onuegbu/Sadiya Hamza

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