Getting a child through clubfoot treatment can be difficult, even under the best of circumstances. When a family has the support of their community, friends, and extended family members to provide assistance and encouragement, the odds of successful treatment increase tremendously. However, neighbors and families in low- and middle-income countries are often not educated about the birth defect and criticism and doubt can prevail.
Sonita was born in Cambodia almost two years ago. Her father works in an office and her mother owns a small coffee shop in Phnom Penh. When an observant midwife present at the birth identified Sonita’s clubfoot, she immediately referred the family to nearby National Pediatric Hospital for treatment at a MiracleFeet-supported clinic there. But in the seven days between Sonita’s birth and her first appointment, neighbors planted ideas in their heads that the condition was a result of wrongdoing in the family’s past. Sonita’s parents started to get discouraged and hopeless when they noticed very little progress after the first three casts.
Nevertheless, they remained committed to treatment and the regular one-hour motorcycle trips to the hospital. Soon, they noticed the difference in Sonita’s feet, and she was quickly walking without any issues at all. They have dreams of Sonita becoming a teacher someday, but right now she is content to play with her dolls.
Stories like Sonita’s underscore the reasons we are so passionate about our mission to make sure families in low- and middle-income countries can access free and convenient clubfoot treatment.