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Mobilizing children for life

Health care is a human right

2 million children

live with the pain and stigma of untreated clubfoot, a condition that affects at least 1 in 800 globally.

MiracleFeet is on a mission to create universal access to treatment for this leading cause of physical disability worldwide. We partner with local health workers and organizations to bring the low-cost solution to children who need it today and for generations. Less than $500 can cover the cost of treatment for one child.

63,131 lives transformed
329 clinics
30 countries
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Miraclefeet Photography- UGANDA
Two Sisters, One Treatment, a Family’s Future Transformed
Clubfoot is less common in girls (about twice as many boys are born with it each year), but left untreated, girls and women bear disproportionate consequences.
Finding Treatment for a Leading Newborn Condition Shouldn’t Be an Odyssey
Share: A version of this article was published on Devex.com When a nonsurgical treatment exists for a common congenital anomaly, why do so many still live with its consequences? From Afghanistan to Belarus, Venezuela, Myanmar, Haiti or the United States-Mexico border, we live in an unprecedented time of human displacement with millions fleeing their homes in crisis — for a better life, medical attention, or shelter from untenable suffering. Among the most vulnerable of this growing population are children with disabilities. More children live with a disability today than at any other time in history.2 They experience higher rates of poor health, poverty, hunger, neglect, violence, and abuse.3 They are less likely to go to school, have access to health services, or find employment as adults. They face discrimination and stigma, inaccessible physical and online environments, even institutionalization, and a lack of autonomy in health and legal decision-making. Many, in fact, do not legally exist; their births are never recorded. Despite high-level advocacy and rhetoric about inclusive development, disabled children have simply been left behind by global health and development agendas. Their rights — including the right to health care and an education, the right to play, and the right to be protected from harm — are routinely violated by systemic inaction and complacency. Every three minutes a child is born with clubfoot. Fewer than 1 in 5 will receive care without our work to expand access to its $500 treatment. Donate I recently met a mother from Venezuela, at a MiracleFeet partner clinic in Ecuador, whose story brought these issues into focus. An outgoing woman, Carolina told me about having no one to turn to when her son was born with clubfoot in Venezuela three years ago. There were no services, no doctors; the health system had collapsed. The crisis in Venezuela is not new. Those who could leave, had. But, like so many others, Carolina had few options and stayed behind. When she had her son though, she realized the only way to help him was to leave her country—on foot. So she did. She packed up and, with her infant son, walked to Colombia. She became an immigrant. I’ve been an immigrant most of my life. Born in Brazil, I moved with my parents to Venezuela, then England, and eventually the United States. As an adult, I’ve lived and worked in Bolivia, Mozambique, and Panama. I’ve been able to move effortlessly through and across borders having the good fortune and privilege of “going through the front door,” always with the right papers and documents. When I hear the experiences of people crossing borders, whether for opportunity or safety, without these freedoms, I feel a responsibility to share their stories. Almost always, it’s for their children.  It took Carolina a year and a half, walking 1,500 miles across two countries to find treatment. Unable to find work in Colombia to pay for her son’s treatment, someone told Carolina about a clinic in Quito, Ecuador where he could receive care. So she left again, now with a toddler on her back, and walked for almost two weeks to Ecuador’s capital, where he finally began treatment. Today, after a few plaster casts and a brace worn at night (that’s all he needed!) her son is walking and running. 150,000 more families each year cannot access this care for their newborn. A clubfoot diagnosis can completely upend their lives. MiracleFeet exists solely to ensure children born with this preventable disability have access to the same medical care routinely provided in higher-income countries. Access to clubfoot treatment is a right. Your browser does not support the video tag. Vast inequities threaten many human rights today, but for clubfoot, this is a gap we know how to close. In dozens of contexts, including conflict and fragile states, MiracleFeet’s local medical partners have proven that clubfoot treatment can be safely, effectively delivered and reach populations at scale. On World Children’s Day, we affirm our commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, joining UNICEF and a growing chorus of rights-based organizations calling on global health leaders and governments to prioritize and protect the world’s most vulnerable children. The CRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, but human rights charters are only as good as society’s ability to safeguard the rights of all — not the richest, or ablest, or easiest to reach. From Caracas to Quito, Carolina walked part of a continent so that her son could walk. No parent should have to go to breathtaking lengths for something as ubiquitous and cheap in the modern world. Treatment for clubfoot or cleft lip, or a new wheelchair, a pair of eyeglasses, or a vaccine — these aren’t miracles. Access to these is a right. Carolina and her son Zoar, with MiracleFeet program staff More children are surviving, fewer are thriving. Only the highest-income countries have seen declines in childhood disability. One major reason is that congenital anomalies — many of which can be prevented or, like clubfoot, treated — have been neglected in low- and middle-income countries for decades. Limited investments in clinical advances — like the Ponseti method for clubfoot, and physical rehabilitation services — means that up to 150 million children have chronic impairments that impact their quality of life and participation in society. Surging disability among the world’s youth is rooted in health system inequities, but perpetuated by donor-led health priorities that underinvest in chronic conditions. We count reduced deaths, not improved functioning or well-being. “70 to 75% of birth defects can actually be treated, managed, or improved,” said Ayesha de Costa, scientist, at the World Health Organization, during a recent panel on clubfoot. “To put congenital defects on the agenda in LMICs is our number one priority” Governments, donors, and health NGOs can help shift this trend by integrating detection and referral of major congenital conditions into child health programs and physiotherapist-led care within primary health initiatives. Read more about our advocacy What does changing a life cost? A $500 donation can radically shift the trajectory of a young life affected by clubfoot. Transform a life
New Report Highlights “Human Impact” of MiracleFeet Brace
The Assistive Technology Impact Fund (ATIF), part of the UK Aid-funded AT2030 program published a new report, MiracleFeet: the human impact of clubfoot braces in Nigeria and Liberia in which 98% of guardians surveyed, whose children have used the MiracleFeet brace, say clubfoot treatment “overwhelmingly has a positive impact on children’s quality of life, with improvements to children’s ability to move, stand, play, and forge positive relationships.” A brace worn primarily at night for up to 5 years is a critical part of clubfoot treatment. Poor compliance can lead to relapses. Brace-wearing is the longest stage of the Ponseti method and the most likely to determine long-term success, as the only statistically significant factor in clubfoot recurrence. Following a series of casts, children wear an abduction brace consisting of shoes and a bar which maintain the feet in position as they grow. It is worn for 23 hours a day for the first three months, and then while sleeping for up to five years. In 2021, MiracleFeet became one of the first organizations to benefit from the AT Impact Fund. ATIF supports disability innovation ventures to scale through capital and technical assistance, and aims to drive market-based solutions for assistive products that enable people with impairments to reach their full potential. Did you know? Clubfoot braces earned a spot in the WHO’s first ever global guide for assistive technology. The WHO Assistive Product Specifications outline 26 essential devices that health systems must supply for inclusive health services—and clubfoot braces are #5. MiracleFeet and ATIF are piloting a project to commercialize the MiracleFeet brace in Nigeria—Africa’s largest market with 9,500 children born with clubfoot every year—by leveraging existing medical device distribution channels and healthcare provider networks to expand access to a reasonably priced, high-quality clubfoot brace throughout the country. To better understand features of the brace, and results of MiracleFeet‘s work for children living with clubfoot, ATIF commissioned 60 Decibels to conduct research using specifically designed tools that could measure the impact of assistive technology. Highlights: 200 parents and guardians of children receiving MiracleFeet treatment in Nigeria and Liberia were surveyed using the Assistive Technology Impact Measurement survey.98% of children who used the MiracleFeet brace as part of their treatment protocol experience improved quality of life. Parents and guardians attributed the improvement to their child’s ability to move, stand, play, and forge positive relationships.Parents and guardians of children undergoing Miracle Feet brace treatment are highly satisfied and loyal towards the company, with a Net Promoter Score ® of 88. The research is also part of GDI Hub’s AT2030 work with WHO and UNICEF to drive global affordability and availability of assistive products through market-shaping, which includes the 26 essential Assistive Product Specifications to guide countries in prioritizing their provision in health systems supply chains. Clubfoot braces have been included in the first ever APS, a global guide for assistive technology to improve the life of millions, which WHO, AT2030, and UNICEF launched in March 2021. Led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub and funded by UK Aid, AT2030 tests ‘what works’ to improve access to life-changing Assistive Technology (AT) for all; investing £20m over 5 years to support solutions to scale. AT2030 will reach 9 million directly and 6 million more indirectly, driving a lifetime of potential. AT2030 operates in 31 countries globally. The MiracleFeet Brace 3 bars and 6 pairs of shoes: average needed to complete clubfoot treatment MiracleFeet partners reported the lack of an easy-to-use affordable brace was the single biggest impediment to scaling Ponseti treatment in their countries. Since braces are worn for up to four years after the completion of active treatment, and they are critical to long-term patient outcomes, MiracleFeet knew that scaling clubfoot treatment in low- and middle-income countries required a high-quality, low-cost solution. Partnering with Stanford d.school, in 2013 we set out to design a brace that would be affordable, easy to use, and durable. Costing less than $20 to produce, the FDA-registered, patented MiracleFeet brace comes with all the functionality of $350-$1,000 braces used in the U.S. Children in 36 countries have used the brace since we started producing it with Suncast, Clark’s Shoes, and Fortune Footwear. In 2021, a prototype of a sensor to track and promote proper brace usage won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award. Related News WHO and Global Agencies Tackle Clubfoot in Disability Innovation Live Series The Time Is Now: New Report Calls for Global Action for Children and Adults with… A world apart: a global clubfoot journey fueled by one woman’s resolve Finding Treatment for a Leading Newborn Condition Shouldn’t Be an Odyssey

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