Nearly 13 million people live in South Sudan, over half of whom have been displaced due to civil war and are dependent on humanitarian assistance. The health system in South Sudan is also very weak with a fragile supply chain, high turnover, a serious lack of adequately trained health workers, safety threats to health service providers, and lack of funding. With a population that is moving continuously, either due to forced displacement or in search of safer living conditions, building a successful health system is especially challenging.
Approximately 650 children are born with clubfoot in South Sudan every year and there is an enormous backlog of untreated and neglected cases. Exacerbating the problem is the acute lack of clubfoot clinics in the country paired with severe poverty making it extremely difficult for parents to access treatment for their children. The NGO OVCI la Nostra Famiglia runs the Usratuna rehabilitation center in Juba which has been the only center in the country that provides clubfoot treatment using the Ponseti Method.
In 2019 MiracleFeet, together with the National Clubfoot Program of Uganda, supported training clinic staff with the Africa Clubfoot Training (ACT), CAST training, and provided parent education. Additionally, a South Sudanese surgeon from the National Teaching hospital in Juba was trained in performing tenotomies which centralized treatment.
Usratuna will focus on returning to pre-COVID-19 levels of new patient enrollments, treating children born with clubfoot during the pandemic, and continuing to develop a high-quality clubfoot program with plans for expiation in the coming years.
In 2022, MiracleFeet began a partnership with Health Link South Sudan (HLSS), a non-governmental humanitarian and development organization working to support universal access to all levels of health care for all citizens. HLSS will be pursuing multifaceted strategies to improve the availability, accessibility, affordability and utilization of clubfoot services starting in two health facilities.