Whether it’s training a midwife in West Africa, collaborating with Ministry of Health officials in Latin America, or educating American audiences that only 10% of children born with clubfoot in low- and middle-income countries have access to proper treatment, clubfoot awareness is complex and multi-faceted.
What’s the best way to advocate for clubfoot in the global health landscape? How do we let parents throughout the world know that this common birth defect, impacting 1 in every 800 children born, can be treated with the noninvasive Ponseti method?
During the 2018 fall semester, a group of four UNC undergraduates set out to explore the world of clubfoot treatment. The students – Julia Klebe, Omar Trad, Mali Khan, and Chris Lurie – are seniors studying Public Health Policy and Management at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Their podcast highlights the stories of a parent of a child born with clubfoot as well as MiracleFeet staff working in different parts of the world. The goal was to help spread awareness, give listeners an idea of what life is like for families going through clubfoot treatment in low- and middle-income countries, and educate American audiences on a common condition many have never heard of.
Listen to the podcast:
East Africa Program Manager Marieke Dreise on the results of invasive surgery and the desire to start a program training Ponseti providers: “It was always very painful for them, [with] very difficult operations. We sat together and decided to start a national program.”
Emily, a clubfoot mom in the Philippines, on the struggles she faces in her community: “Here in our country there are more superstitious beliefs. People will say, ‘Maybe you have eaten crabs.'”
Dr. Alaric Aroojis on the social integration challenges faced by children with neglected clubfoot: “We have heard from a lot of children that they’re unable to play with their peers, they get teased at school…that continues into their adult life as well.”