Watch: WHO and Global Agencies Tackle Clubfoot in Disability Innovation Live Series

October 15, 2021

Webinar: Clubfoot – Time to Act!

For the first time in a public panel, representatives from global health agencies came together to discuss barriers to universal clubfoot treatment. The Global Disability Innovation Hub organized the panel, which was co-hosted by the World Health Organization, AT2030, Clinton Health Access Initiative, UK aid, the Global Clubfoot Initiative, and MiracleFeet.

Vicki Austin +

CEO, Global Disability Innovation C.I.C.

Victoria co-founded GDI Hub with Cathy and Iain in 2016, and leads the CIC team as well teaching on the MSc and being a co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on AT at UCL.

Previously Head of London 2012 Paralympic Legacy, Vicki brings over 20 years experience of working on disability and social justice on major international projects. Her own research focuses on Disability in the Global South, and her PhD research is in Sierra Leone.

Frederic Seghers +

Clinton Health Access Initiative

Associate Director on AT2030 and part of CHAI’s New Market Opportunities Team, which functions as an
incubator for global health access. Previous experience working in strategy, marketing and business development roles at Bain & Company and Procter & Gamble. Master in Beiomedical Engineering at Ghent University (Belgium).

Aisha Mballo +

Lived experience with clubfoot disability

Aisha Mballo was born with bilateral clubfoot in Senegal in 1981. At 16, she moved to the United States in pursuit of treatment. Today, she lives in Dakar, has a black belt in Karate, and is a champion for inclusive, accessible health services for all people with disabilities.

Louise Puli +

World Health Organization

Louise Puli is member of the assistive technology team at the World Health Organization. She is a certified orthotist/prosthetist and holds qualifications in public health policy and management, and in tertiary education, learning and curriculum design. Louise’s clinical background focussed on paediatric orthotics and she was an active member of teams managing clubfoot. She, along with the WHO Assistive Technology team are excited to see clubfoot in the spotlight and look forward to collaborating with partners to build momentum to increased access to clubfoot braces.

Ayesha De Costa +

World Health Organization

Ayesha de Costa is Scientist at the Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing (MCA) Department at the World Health Organization. In this role she supports research, country programs and guideline development in the area of newborn and child health. She has recently begun work as the focal point at the department for congenital defects. Ayesha has a degree in Medicine and is trained in epidemiology. She worked with bilateral assistance to strengthen programs for maternal and child health in resource limited settings as well as academically in the area. The MCA department at the WHO sees congenital birth defects as an important priority and is promotes the detection and management of congenital defects including club foot.

Professor Chris Lavy +

Surgeon and Trustee of Global Clubfoot Initiative

Surgeon and Trustee of Global Clubfoot Initiative and Miracle Feet. Chris Lavy qualified at St Bartholomew’s Medical College in 1982 after a BSc in Anthropology at University College London. He trained in orthopaedic surgery on the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital rotation and in 1992 became a Consultant in orthopaedic and hand surgery at The Middlesex Hospital and University College Hospital in London. In 1996 he left to work with the Christian medical charity CBM International and was appointed to an Honorary Professorship at the University of Malawi College of Medicine.

Background (from

new report by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) for AT2030 was published in July this year. The report aims to drive improvements for millions of children and adults with clubfoot to reach their full potential and has collated a variety of recommendations to ensure that progress is made.

Clubfoot affects an estimated 200,000 children a year, 144,000 of whom cannot access its treatment. Although it affects more children than most other structural birth defects, and even though virtually all children can achieve lifelong mobility without surgery through the use of assistive technology (AT), many governments and bilateral donors still do not view clubfoot intervention as a priority newborn health issue.

This panel focused on next steps in driving the AT2030 report findings forward. The panel included key stakeholders from across WHO, USAID, FCDO, MiracleFeet and Global Clubfoot Initiative who discussed how disabled people with clubfoot can realise their human rights through the breaking down of silos, stigma and the removal of barriers that prevent people from accessing appropriate, affordable AT alongside the skilled personnel necessary.