June 3 is

World Clubfoot Day

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 700 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.

80,093 lives transformed
340 clinics
36 countries
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MiracleFeet Featured in BBC News
Every year 200,000 babies are born with clubfoot and, of the nearly 10 million people alive today who were born with it, as many as eight million have never received treatment. In late 2022, BBC reporters visited Senegal to hear directly from patients and families searching for clubfoot care. This article details the emotional stories they encountered as well as the passion they witnessed from MiracleFeet partners, providers, and ambassadors.
PAHO and MiracleFeet partner to launch a free virtual course for health workers on clubfoot
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO’s regional office of the Americas, and MiracleFeet just launched an open access virtual course on clubfoot highlighting the importance of early identification, the surprisingly high prevalence, and impact of untreated clubfoot – a major cause of disability worldwide. This course, available in English and Spanish, is aimed primary at frontline health workers and includes a close look at clubfoot—the most common congenital cause of physical disability worldwide affecting an estimated 200,000 babies every year. The course presents essential information on the non-surgical, low cost, and extremely effective Ponseti method, the orthopedic treatment standard. “This course is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness and promote the integration of early detection and referral into healthcare systems,” says Daphne Sorensen, CEO of MiracleFeet, “so that every baby born with clubfoot starts treatment early, ideally within in the first few weeks of life.” Dr. Betzabé Butrón Riveros, Regional Advisor on Child Health at PAHO adds, “when we recognize and address clubfoot we can change an entire life in a matter of weeks. We cannot leave these children behind.” The self-directed and self-paced virtual course includes four modules and four key learning outcomes. Modules and learning outcomes Modules What is clubfoot? The case for treating clubfoot Clubfoot treatment The role of the health worker Learning outcomes Familiarity with the characteristics of clubfoot and other common birth impairments Knowledge of the Ponseti method—a simple, low-cost technique—and how it can be used to effectively treat clubfoot Understanding of the importance of early detection and referral and the role healthcare workers play in examining children for birth impairments Reflect on community perceptions of birth impairments and learn through examples how to communicate with families in a supportive and encouraging way, avoiding stigma and misinformation. Through this course, MiracleFeet and PAHO are working together to support regional and country level actions to prevent the life-long disability caused by untreated clubfoot. This partnership signals deserved recognition in awareness raising for clubfoot and the need for expanded access to its low-cost treatment. “Early detection and referral of children with conditions like clubfoot is crucial to help them access the rehabilitation they need when it can help the most,” says Antony Duttine, Regional Advisor, Disability and Rehabilitation at PAHO. “Early childhood development is critically linked to lifetime outcomes. Access to services improves a child’s ability to learn and play from infancy, and generates greater gains throughout their lives, compared to deferred intervention.” Increasing early access to clubfoot treatment will transform many young futures, especially in low- and middle-income countries where four out of five children do not have access to care. The course also aligns to the Sustainable Development Goal #3 and with PAHO’s commitment to improve children’s health and quality of life. Training healthcare workers to identify and refer clubfoot cases means more children will have access to not only mobility, but also independence, education, and employment opportunities. “When we recognize and address clubfoot we can change an entire life in a matter of weeks. We cannot leave these children behind.”Dr. Betzabé Butrón Riveros The course is free and available at the Virtual Campus for Public Health of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a network of people, institutions and organizations who have been sharing public health courses, resources, and information since 2008.  With 1.7 million users, participants who review the educational material, pass the evaluations, and answer the Virtual Campus quality survey can download the certificate of participation and approval issued by PAHO. “Building awareness of clubfoot and other birth impairments within the Americas will lead to more babies being referred for treatment, and more children accessing the rehabilitative care which is their right,” says Anna Cuthel, MiracleFeet’s Technical Director.   More from MiracleFeet Love Prevails: A World Clubfoot Day Story from Cambodia Sandra and Bailley: How Far a Mother Will Walk so Her Son Can Too Tragedy gives way to hope for Jonathan and his family in Sierra Leone Honoring Zimbabwe’s First Female Orthopedic Surgeon on International Women’s Day
Tragedy gives way to hope for Jonathan and his family in Sierra Leone
A country reeling from a devastating ten-year civil war. An Ebola epidemic. A high-risk pregnancy. Twin babies, both born with clubfoot. This was the setting for Jonathan’s arrival into the world. As she neared the end of her pregnancy, Anicka started feeling ill. Normally, if not for the threat of Ebola, she would have delivered at home. Instead, she spent the final weeks of pregnancy in a government hospital in the Bo District of Sierra Leone until finally giving birth to twin boys – a surprise to everyone. Also a surprise: both babies were born with clubfoot. Tragically, one of the twins passed away soon after birth. Anicka’s husband John was back in their village preparing for the baby when he got the call and rushed to the hospital. He learned about the twin babies, only to then learn only one survived. During the Ebola epidemic, no one was allowed to touch the deceased baby’s body for fear of contagion so by the time John arrived at the hospital his child was gone, buried by strangers. “I did not see his grave,” John says. “To this day, when I sit and think about him, it saddens me.” In a stupor of shock and sorrow, John turned to his surviving son, Jonathan, noticing his small feet severely twisted in and up. He wondered if this child would ever manage to stand or walk. This story was chosen for WHO's Film Festival! Help by sharing your reaction to Jonathan’s story on social media using #Film4Health. WHO's Film Festival Anicka and John were eventually discharged and returned home with their newborn, but the harrowing experience at the hospital and the loss of Jonathan’s twin left them both traumatized and grieving. Even so, their pain was far from over. Villagers told Anicka and John that their baby was a devil. They said he must have killed his own twin, and that Anicka had given birth to a demon with bent legs. “On every single corner they were gossiping,” Anicka remembers. “One of my friends was pregnant and she didn’t want to hold my child, saying he is evil and she didn’t want to give birth to its’ kind.” The hateful comments devastated Anicka, who hadn’t even yet physically recovered from giving birth, much less the loss of her other baby. She was heartbroken, discouraged, and began quarreling with other women in town when they told her that her son would never walk and that his legs would always be that way. It was Jonathan’s uncle who brought a ray of light to their darkest days. After hearing of his nephew’s condition, he called John and told him not to worry, “I’ll find a solution,” he promised his brother, “just be patient.” John’s mother also offered the couple support and encouragement. “Let not your heart be troubled,” she said, “this child is a twin and, as he grows up, his feet will straighten.” She began using traditional medicine, grinding herbs into a paste to apply to Jonathan’s feet. But as time passed, there was no change. “You might not know what he is going to be in the future with these feet.” As the months dragged on, Anicka and John struggled to keep from falling into despair. The stress and uncertainty around Jonathan’s future caused them to argue. Eventually John decided their only option was to bring Johnathan to church and ask a pastor to pray for him. For over a year, John regularly brought Jonathan to church, but there was still no change. Nearly drowning in grief, Jonathon’s mother became more and more distant and detached and eventually stopped searching for a cure. Her mother-in-law encouraged her not to give up. “You might not know what he is going to be in the future with these feet,” she told her. The sound of hope on the radio One day, John received a call from his brother saying he heard news on the radio that clubfoot can be treated. “John,” he said, “I have seen where they treat those feet. Bring Jonathan and let’s take him!” John set a date to take Jonathan to the Bo Government Hospital as his brother requested. When they arrived at the clinic, a woman named Aunty Adama examined Jonathan’s feet and said the words the family had been waiting to hear for years: they could treat Jonathan. He would stand straight on his feet, and the treatment would be provided for free. For the first time in a very long while, Anicka smiled. The family moved to Bo for the duration of Jonathan’s treatment. They adhered to every instruction from the doctors, and eventually, the impossible became a reality. After a series of casts and over just a matter of weeks, Jonathan’s feet straightened. When the news got around that Jonathan’s feet were corrected and that he was able to walk and run, people from their village began calling John non-stop asking if what they heard was true, even begging John to bring Jonathan back to the village so they could see the incredible transformation for themselves. John also received calls of another nature – from other parents of children living with untreated clubfoot asking for help and advice. “Sadness is a wall between two gardens” Ironically, it was through great tragedy, both nationally and personally, that treatment was available for Jonathan. In the years after the civil war in Sierra Leone, the need for rehabilitation services was unprecedented, and these services became available throughout the country. Sadly, Jonathan’s uncle, after finding treatment for his nephew, passed away just before Jonathan’s fifth birthday so never got to see the full transformation. Today, Jonathan is a healthy, active seven-year-old who loves running and playing with his peers. Treatment not only corrected his feet, but allowed healing and peace for his parents. Seeing Jonathan playing and laughing helped heal the wounds of the past. “Right now, I thank God and the nurses that treated my child’s feet,” says Anicka, “I feel happy now because I see my child is playing. I see him healthy now and he is fine. I am proud of my child.” Jonathan is living proof that even in dire circumstances, there is hope. Support from loved ones brought about long-awaited change. Rehabilitation centers signaled healing for a nation. A young boy, walking proud on two straight feet joins his friends in a soccer game. That is the setting for Jonathan’s childhood today – a full turn from how his life began. Jonathan’s video has been selected for the “Universal Health Coverage” category in The World Health Organization’s 4th Health for All Film Festival (out of more than 780 entries!). Please help champion this story and MiracleFeet’s mission by posting a short caption about why this story appealed to you on your social media channels using #Film4Health and tag @MiracleFeet. Select comments from the public will be featured during the Awards Ceremony in early June. More News & Stories Love Prevails: A World Clubfoot Day Story from Cambodia Sandra and Bailley: How Far a Mother Will Walk so Her Son Can Too Tragedy gives way to hope for Jonathan and his family in Sierra Leone Honoring Zimbabwe’s First Female Orthopedic Surgeon on International Women’s Day A $500 treatment ensures children born with this common birth defect are attending school, playing with friends, and pursuing their dreams. Donate

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