Clubfoot Program Overview
Worldwide, one in 1,000 children is born with clubfoot. Clubfoot is a debilitating limb deformity that robschildren of their ability to walk normally as one or both feet gradually turn inward and sometimes even backward, resulting in severe lifelong disability, discrimination and often deep poverty.
In developed countries, children are typically screened at birth for the condition and promptly treated. However, in most developing countries, no such screening and treatment programs exist. 80% of babies born with clubfoot each year live in low and middle income countries. Neglected clubfoot is one of the causes of physical disability throughout the world. If clubfoot is identified early in a child’s life, the disability can be corrected effectively through the Ponseti Method of treatment, and can significantly increase the quality of life among children born with clubfoot.
Prosthetics Outreach Foundation trains local medical practitioners in developing countries to use the Ponseti Method, a series of castings and subsequent bracing, which can permanently correct clubfoot. The Ponseti method is easy to perform in developing countries because there is minimal or no surgery required and the technique can be taught to therapists, orthopaedic assistants, and other health care providers. This form of treatment is low tech, low cost, and highly effective.
The treatment of clubfoot using the Ponseti method includes: 4-6 weeks of casting; possible tendon release with minimal surgery; and maintenance of correction using foot braces for 3-4 years.
The goal of POF is to:
1. Raise awareness of clubfoot deformity & establish referral pathways
2. Early intervention with the Ponseti Method
3. Facilitate brace produciton
4. Enhance skills of local surgeons
5. Sensitize the community about clubfoot as a treatable condition
In 2011, POF proudly launched a national clubfoot treatment program in Vietnam in partnership with the Vietnam Ministry of Health. Currently, POF has clubfoot treatment services in Vietnam, Haiti in partnership with Cure, and Sierra Leone. For more information, please read our newsletters and program pages.
POF is a founding member and governing partner with the Global Clubfoot Initiative (GCI). The GCI is a consortium of individuals and organizations with technical and organizational expertise in clubfoot management, using the Ponseti method and experience in establishing national clubfoot programs in low and middle income countries. Marion McGowan serves on the steering committee and Raymond Pye is a member of GCI’s advisory council.
A new website was launched on April 18, 2012 to promote the Vietnam Clubfoot Program, a nation wide clubfoot treatment program in Vietnam supported by both Prosthetics Outreach Foundation (POF) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health. The website, www.vnclubfoot.org is a resource for clinics, doctors, parents of children with clubfoot and the general public of Vietnam.