Aliza’s Parents Fight Clubfoot Stigma in Cambodia

October 30, 2018

Early detection and referral systems helped Aliza, who was born with bilateral clubfoot in Cambodia, find treatment shortly after she was born. The midwife who delivered Aliza immediately recognized the condition and knew that there was help available at the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh, not far from where the family lived.

Aliza asleep as an infant before treatment

Unfortunately, Aliza’s mother and father were met with unkind words from family and neighbors immediately after the child was born. Community members said Aliza’s condition couldn’t be treated and that it was punishment for past misdeeds. Aliza’s mom and dad felt increasingly hopeless and worried for their daughter’s future but they were determined to do all theycould to help their child.

When Aliza was ten days old, she and her parents traveled for an hour by motorbike taxi to the hospital to begin treatment in the care of our partners NextSteps Cambodia. Sadly, after the first cast, they still faced derision in their community. Aliza’s grandmother said she refused to help care for her “abnormal” grandchild, so Aliza’s mother quit her job to devote herself to her daughter’s care.

Aliza’s parents were incredibly dedicated to seeing their daughter complete treatment despite being ostracized by those around them. Thankfully, their hard work and perseverance paid off: Aliza playing with her bikeAliza completed casting, received a tenotomy, and moved on to the bracing phase.

Now Aliza is an active two-year-old who loves to play with dolls, ride her bicycle, and run around with her friends. “We see her feet completely changed, and it is a big change for her life and the family,” said Aliza’s father. Aliza’s mother no longer worries that her daughter will be denied opportunities because of clubfoot. Aliza’s parents both want her to receive an education and get a good job, and they now see a bright future where this is possible for their child.

Read more patient stories from Cambodia here.