14-month-old Salum splashed and played in a tub before casting at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), our partner clinic in Arusha, Tanzania. Salum’s mother is only 16 years old and his father only 23. With no one else in the family affected by clubfoot, seeing Salum’s turned-in foot when he was born was greatly disturbing to his family. Without any other explanation, Salum’s mother assumed the condition was caused by witchcraft.
Then came an unexpected moment of good fortune. Shortly after Salum’s birth, his mother met a neighbor who had just returned from having her own son treated for clubfoot. The clinic at KCMC was a two-day trip, but she assured Salum’s mother was worth it. Convinced they would seek treatment, Salum’s parents scraped together $200 for transport and lodging by selling two of the family’s cows. One of 10 children, Salum’s father had inherited five cows at age 15 from his own father, growing the herd to 50 over the years and relying on the animals to provide for his family.
At the first clinic visit, Salum’s parents knew they had made the right decision. Given the distance of the clinic from their home, they opted to stay nearby while one of the highly experienced Ponseti providers at KCMC treated Salum using an accelerated Posenti treatment that involves changing the casts every three days. The staff is trained to identify issues with treatment when it is administered with this frequency, and so far it is going very well. This clubfoot cutie looks quite comfortable as his foot is manipulated and his casts are changed!
Salum’s story is a testament to the power everyone has when they share their own experiences in order to help and encourage others. We’re excited for Salum’s treatment to be completed, so he can go back to his home to run and play.