Imagine a single mom, abandoned by her husband, living in a remote village. She walks with her child on her back for nearly an hour and a half to get to the main road where she catches a bus to the nearest town so that her child can receive the medical care he needs.
For those with easy access to medical care, such a scene is hard to envision. For Pascuala, the mother of a child born with clubfoot in rural Guatemala, such obstacles are merely a part of her daily life.
Maycol Finds Treatment
Pascuala’s husband abandoned her after he learned she was pregnant, and she was forced to move back to her parents’ home in remote Nahuala. She gave birth to her son Maycol at home and noticed his feet were turned inward. Like many parents, Pascuala had never seen or heard of clubfoot and believed her son would never be able to walk because of the condition of his feet.
Fortunately, a community health worker came to see Pascuala and Maycol for a home visit and noticed the baby’s feet. She explained that the condition was called clubfoot and was treatable with a series of casts, but that Pascuala needed to go to the hospital right away to enroll Maycol in treatment.
Challenging Beliefs About Healthcare
Pascuala was glad to hear that the condition was treatable, but she was still skeptical and afraid to go to the hospital. In many rural areas of Guatemala, people are frightened of doctors and hospitals and believe they will die if they go there. This makes treatment of many medical conditions very difficult for health workers, but fortunately, Pascuala’s desire to see her son walk outweighed her fear. She made the journey to the hospital and was immediately encouraged when she saw another child whose last cast was being removed. His feet had been corrected! There was hope for Maycol.
Pascuala remained dedicated to the treatment, despite the difficulty of traveling to the clinic. She had to carry Maycol on her back, which was very challenging while he was in the casting phase of treatment. Now Maycol is in the bracing phase, a happy and smiling child who will likely have little memory of his clubfoot treatment because of his mother’s dedication.
Becoming an Advocate
In addition, Pascuala has become an advocate for clubfoot treatment in her community. When people ask about Maycol’s brace, she tells them about clubfoot and tries to connect other parents to treatment, even visiting their homes to explain how her son’s feet were corrected. She knows there is nothing to fear at the local clubfoot clinic.
Read more about MiracleFeet’s work in Guatemala.