Every year, 35,000-50,000 children in India are born with clubfoot. Children with untreated clubfoot face immense challenges as they grow older. Negative stigmas associated with clubfoot often prevent children from receiving an adequate education. Combined with having limited mobility, those with untreated clubfoot often struggle to find employment. Untreated clubfoot is a root cause of life-long disability, poverty, illiteracy, and abuse in India. It is not uncommon to find people with clubfoot begging on the streets of major Indian cities. Cultural attitudes towards mothers who give birth to children with birth defects add to the burden of clubfoot in India. In some communities, superstition trumps medical knowledge. Some believe that clubfoot is caused when pregnant mothers are exposed to the eclipse. Ultimately, women in India can be rejected and spurned for having a child with clubfoot.
India has historically provided poor access to clubfoot treatment. Most children are currently unable to access care and will grow up disabled. However, a simple treatment can fully correct clubfoot at an average cost of Rs.17,000 per child. Known as the Ponseti Method, this treatment is the gold standard of clubfoot management and fully corrects the foot in over 95% of cases. Treatment changes everything for a child – those who had little future are able to walk, run, and play for the rest of their lives.
MiracleFeet in India
MiracleFeet has a large presence in India through our robust partnership with CURE International India Trust (CIIT). CIIT, a locally-led, secular, Indian-registered charity, started its program in April 2009 and has since grown to develop one of the largest and most successful clubfoot programs in the world. CIIT has an established track record of starting and managing effective clubfoot programs in India at a state-wide level. MiracleFeet has been supporting CIIT since 2011 and fully funds 14 state programs. MiracleFeet supports over 65 clinics across India, including in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and the 7 Northeast States (Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya). Since 2011, over 8,500 children have been treated in MiracleFeet-supported clinics, with over 3,000 new children enrolling in the past year alone. In addition to funding, MiracleFeet provides organizational support, technical guidance, and innovative monitoring and evaluation processes to strengthen clubfoot programs in India. We require all our supported clinics to collect patient information in an online database known as the International Clubfoot Registry, which allows us to monitor progress, track potential dropouts, and analyze data for research purposes. miraclefeet has also led the implementation of an SMS text message communication system, which allows families to receive notifications of appointments. In collaboration with Stanford University, MiracleFeet also led the development of a more adaptable, durable, and scalable foot abduction brace that will be provided to all patients in Uttarakhand, with the ultimate goal of expanding throughout India. In 2014, Kunal Premnarayan led the establishment of MiracleFeet India, headquartered in Mumbai. Kunal, the Group CEO of the ICS Group and board member of MiracleFeet, was born with clubfoot himself and successfully underwent treatment in the 1980s. Officially known as the MiracleFeet Foundation for Eliminating Clubfoot, MiracleFeet India is a registered Indian charity and tax-exempt 80G organization. It was established with the vision that all funds needed to eradicate untreated clubfoot in India could be raised within India through individual donors and corporate sponsorships. MiracleFeet India has been fortunate to receive support from leading corporate entities. A major goal of MiracleFeet India is to raise the national awareness of clubfoot, increasing the number of children who are able to receive treatment in our supported clinics while decreasing the stigma faced by clubfoot children and families. We envision a future where all children born with clubfoot in India receive treatment and grow up to live normal, productive lives. If you are an Indian national and wish to donate in Indian Rupees, click here.