A Different Future: Clubfoot Across Generations in Tanzania

February 18, 2017

A mother living with clubfoot gives birth to a daughter, Lucia, with the same condition. Lucia was born in a village in Tabora, a region in Tanzania. Of course, her clubfoot was noticed soon after birth by her mother. Lucia’s mother was never treated for her clubfoot because of a lack of awareness about the condition and the local beliefs of her community. The young mother was understandably upset and deeply wished for her daughter to have a different life.

In her Kimwaga village, children born with clubfoot were left to grow up with the condition, believing that clubfoot isn’t treatable and is “a wish from God.” Due to that local belief, the mother didn’t hide her child and villagers congratulated her said, “Finally, you brought a child of your type.”

Three days after the birth, an uncle called Lucia’s mother and informed her that free clubfoot treatment was available at Bugando Hospital. He had heard an announcement on the radio. It was like a miracle to her ears! Although she was happy, it wasn’t easy for her to believe that her child could be treated after living with her clubfoot untreated for so long.

Four months later, Lucia’s mother and her sister in-law traveled from Nzega, Tabora to Mwanza. They spent 5 hours on a bus before reaching the Bugando clinic for treatment. At the clinic, she was surprised to see a lot of children with clubfoot in different stages of treatments. She saw children in casts, braces, and others fully corrected running and playing. What a sight!

Lucia enrolled in treatment and went through a series of six casts. The seventh week she underwent a tenotomy. As most clubfoot parents know, the journey to full recovery isn’t always easy and Lucia experienced a setback of her own. One week after her tenotomy, Lucia arrived at the Bugando clinic with skin rashes, prompting the removal of her bandages. When Lucy came again, her skin was recovered, but her feet had relapsed. Lucia started manipulation and casting again with a series of four casts and another tenotomy.

During all this treatment, Lucia and her mom lived in Mwanza with her brother to reduce cost and regularly attend appointments. Now Lucia is in the bracing stage and her mother is very happy to see her daughter in the final stage. With great hope, Lucia’s family congratulates the Bugando clinic and the physiotherapists who made their hope possible. They send many thanks to MiracleFeet for being the main sponsor of clubfoot treatments in Tanzania.

The team in Tanzania believes Lucia and her mother will be excellent clubfoot ambassadors in her village and help bring more children to treatment.

You can also be an ambassador for clubfoot treatment by making a donation to support our efforts in Tanzania and the other 14 countries we support.