The mothers from the Kono District stood patiently in line at the clinic and then proudly posed for photos with their children.The babies had received their last Ponseti cast in the Sierra Leone National Clubfoot Program.
Neglected clubfoot is a source of disability worldwide. If untreated, this debilitating limb deformity robs children of their ability to walk normally as one or both feet gradually turn inward and sometimes even backward.
In developed countries, children are typically screened at birth for the condition and promptly treated. However, in places like Kono District, a remote area of eastern Sierra Leione, no such automatic screening happens.
However, if clubfoot is identified early in a child’s life, the disability can be corrected effectively through the Ponseti Method of treatment. POF finds that this treatment significantly increase the quality of life among children born with clubfoot.
In March, POF completed another training in Sierra Leone for health practitioners so they could spot and correct clubfoot with the Ponseti Method. Because this treatment uses a series of castings and subsequent bracing, it is easy to perform (minimal or no surgery required). POF teaches the technique can to therapists, orthopaedic assistants, and other health care providers as part of their efforts to eradicate this problem worldwide.
Photo by Jessica Dyer of POF.