Clubfoot can prevent children from walking, going to school, and being part of their communities.
The Ponseti Method of treatment is now established as the most effective treatment for clubfoot. It is non-surgical, inexpensive and simple, making it ideally suited for roll-out in developing countries.
Yasmin was born in Ceara, a state in the northeast of Brazil, with bilateral clubfeet. There, she started her treatment of casts below the knee, and after a few months, the doctor told Yasmin's parents that she would need surgery in order for her feet to be corrected. The doctor also told them that they would have to pay for the surgery, something that as subsistence farmers, they would never be able to afford.
Yasmin's parents had heard that free surgeries were common in Sao Paulo. Yasmin, her brother, and their parents left their farm in rural Ceara, and traveled 3000km (about 1800 miles) by bus to Sao Paulo, the world's seventh largest city.
Yasmin's mother brought her to a miraclefeet partner clinic in Sao Paulo, where the doctor and physical therapists explained to her how the Ponseti treatment worked. Yasmin's mother cried during the whole visit; she thought surgery was the only way to correct her daughter's feet and had moved her family thousands of miles for it, only to hear that she would not be operated on. Many Ponseti doctors in Brazil struggle to convince parents that the Ponseti Method is more effective and safer than surgery. Red-eyed, Yasmin's mother gave them permission to cast Yasmin, this time with above the knee Ponseti casts, and asked her to come back the next week.
Yasmin and her mother returned to the clinic the next week and every other week since. Her mother noticed the difference after the first cast was taken off and was thrilled to see her practice walking and standing between cast changes.
Yasmin is now wearing her first brace and loves wearing shoes for the first time, even though they are connected by a bar! Her family has plans to stay in Sao Paulo until her doctor is confident enough that she can return to Ceara and have less frequent visits. For now, life in Sao Paulo is still difficult; Yasmin's father has found a job doing construction, but now that they do not live on a farm, they have less food than they used to. Yasmin's mother particularly misses their home, but seeing her daughter's transformation, can only smile and tell us, "It's worth it."