By Loraine Anyango
A newly signed MOU between Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) and Clubfoot Care for Kenya (CCK) will enable Free treatment of Club foot within the region.
The two parties agreed on the successful implementation, delivery, accessibility, and sustainability of quality clubfoot treatment services utilizing the Ponseti method.
In the agreement JOOTRH is expected to conduct a regularly scheduled weekly clubfoot treatment clinic for patients, aiming at serving children born with clubfoot disability and providing care and treatment to any child diagnosed. It will serve as a referral point for clubfoot treatment within the region.
JOOTRH will also provide adequate staff, at minimum clinicians trained in the Ponseti method, for consultation and tenotomies.
The MOU was signed by Dr. George Rae, CEO of JOOTRH, and Ms. Ann Nyakio on Behalf of CCK.
CCK is committed to providing quality plaster, padding, and Foot Abduction Braces for the treatment of participating clubfoot patients, they will also offer continues training for health workers from the Partner Clubfoot Clinic in the treatment of clubfoot using the Ponseti method.
They will provide a trained clinic Parent Advisor to work collaboratively with the medical team, providing support to the patient and family, encouraging patient compliance throughout the entirety of treatment as well as supporting overall clinic functioning and record keeping.
CCK will also ensure regular monitoring, evaluation, and mentoring for both counseling and medical care including but not limited to regular clinic contact through phone calls, periodic auditing of clubfoot patient records and reports, analyzing key outcomes, and clinic visits by program staff and experts. Ethical considerations shall be observed throughout the process.
CCK is expected to work with key stakeholders to develop a sensitization strategy for early detection and referral and implement associated activities. Design and provide materials necessary for the generation of public awareness in the local catchment area and of the availability of treatment at the Partner Clubfoot Clinic.
Clubfoot is a 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. Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society.
Globally around 174,000 children are born with clubfoot each year. In Kenya, clubfoot is one of the most common birth deformities. Close to 2000 children are born with clubfoot per year.
These children often face the risk of a lifetime of 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. Correction is then maintained with bracing, primarily at night and nap time until the age of five.
Clubfoot Care for Kenya (CCK) is a nonprofit organization and an affiliate of Hope Walks International and 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, there are 23 partner clinics in 16 counties running weekly clubfoot clinics. So far approximately 13,600 children have been treated through the partner clinics. Patients are treated at minimum cost to the families due to the generous contributions of Hope Walks and other donors.