Local Photojournalist Raises Clubfoot Awareness in Nigeria
Nigerian photojournalist Innocent Eteng visited a clinic and families supported by MiracleFeet’s partner, the Straight Child Foundation, to raise awareness about the need for accessible clubfoot services throughout Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by population. An estimated 40,000-60,000 children in Nigeria live with untreated clubfoot, and 9,500 infants are born with it every year.
MiracleFeet currently supports treatment at three clinics in Nigeria. Expanding access to services here is a strategic priority for ending the global burden of untreated clubfoot. The majority of Nigerians cannot afford the full course of Ponseti treatment if they have a child born with a congenital anomaly like clubfoot.
Below are excerpts from two news articles written by Innocent, both published in September 2021.
A partnership to provide critical care
Not the ‘Devil’s work’: Reversing Clubfoot Deformities in Children
Most mothers agree that the first meeting between mother and child invokes overwhelming joy. This was true for Joy Chinedu the first time she carried her baby, Precious, examining every part of her with awe and wonder, two hours after giving birth at a public primary health center in Ndoro-Oboro town, southeast Nigeria’s Abia State.
This joy waned the moment she observed the baby’s feet. Both of Precious’s ankles were twisted inward with the foot turning upward. She was born with a deformity called clubfoot, the most common muscle and skeleton-related deformity among children and one of the predominant present-at-birth defects affecting nearly 200,000 newborns every year globally.
In August 2018, Chinedu’s family relocated from Okwe to Amizi-oloko Town, Abia State. She was also pregnant with a third baby, having had a second clubfoot-free baby after Precious. It was heart-wrenching for her when the third baby, Marvelous, came out carrying clubfoot in both feet.
While visiting Okwe with Marvelous two months after delivery, a female acquaintance saw the boy’s feet and told Chinedu that the defect could be corrected for free if she took him to the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Umuahia, on a Thursday. The lady showed her the feet of her own son who was being treated, explaining that a US-based non-profit called MiracleFeet was sponsoring the treatment.
The following Thursday, Chinedu travelled to FMC, Umuahia with Marvelous. After signing a consent form, the process that would transform Marvelous’ feet began.
Read the full article from Nigerian Health Watch here.
Clubfoot: Nigerian surgeon, American partners bring succor to hundreds of children
As an orthopedic surgeon at Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia and founder of The Straight Child Foundation (TSCF), part of Dr. Peace Amaraegbulam’s work is treating children with clubfoot, a congenital (present-at-birth) deformity that twists the foot inward and upward, causing the child to walk on the side of their foot with much pain and difficulty.
MiracleFeet entered a partnership with TSCF to create awareness about clubfoot in Nigeria and provide free treatment, beginning with a clinic at the FMC Umuahia.
Since 2019, MiracleFeet expanded care to five additional hospitals in five states. Together, the six centres have treated 583 cases, one of them being one-year-and-four-months-old Winner Chinonso who had clubfoot on both feet.
Before Winner turned five months old, Peculiar, his mother, saw a post on Facebook about the free treatment at FMC. She travelled with him every week from Aba to FMC (about one hour-10-minutes journey by commercial bus) for treatment. Winner is on braces now; his feet look normal, and he walks and plays freely with other children.
“Sometimes, I would just tell myself, if it wasn’t corrected, I wouldn’t have been happy in this my life because I know each time I look at his feet, I would really feel sad,” 29-year-old Peculiar said. “I am just happy that looking at him now, his feet are okay, and he can walk.”
Read the full article from Premium Times here.