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Government Throws Weight Behind Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project

CBC DHS (1st from R) with his team at Ministry of Social Affairs recommending-scale up of clubfoot care to Mr
CBC DHS (1st from R) with his team at Ministry of Social Affairs recommending-scale up of clubfoot care .
The Director in charge of Health Care Organization and Technology and the Director in charge of Persons with Disabilities in the Ministries of Public Health and Social Affairs respectively have lauded the CBC Health Services’ initiative of offering clubfoot care in Cameroon using the Ponseti Technique.
The duo, Prof. Arthur Essomba and Mr. Jean Pierre Edjoa were speaking recently during two separate visits to their Ministries by the CBC Director of Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, the Cameroon Clubfoot Care (CCC) Clinical Supervisor, Dr. Ndasi Henry, the Services for Person with Disabilities Coordinator, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac and the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project Officer, Ms. Tina Ashiyo to advocate for their involvement to scale up clubfoot care services to a national level in Cameroon.
Since its start in 2014, Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project has offered treatment using the Ponseti Technique to more than 150 children in the project’s four pilot clinics which are the Physiotherapy departments of the Mbingo, Banso and Mutengene Baptist Hospitals and SAJOCAH Bafut. Through advocacy, four new health facilities have officially partnered with the project and are using the Ponseti Technique in treating clubfoot.
Nonetheless, there remain many cases of neglected/untreated clubfoot cases in the country due to the limited number of clubfoot treatment clinics and ignorance of the right treatment option.
The CBC Director of Health Services and his team were received at the Ministry of Public Health by the Director of the Department of Health Care Organization and Health Technology, Prof. Arthur Essomba. Dr. Ndasi presented a brief summary of the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Service, its activities, achievements and challenges. He explained to Prof. Essomba that with the very few number of clinics in Cameroon offering clubfoot treatment using the Ponseti Technique which is the most effective method, and given the number of children born with the clubfoot deformity across the country, there is need to scale up of the project to the national level to ease access to treatment by all children born with the deformity in all regions of the country.
He recommended that the Ministry can cause this scale up by including a module on clubfoot management in training schools for health personnel in the country as a way of developing technical skills for treatment, facilitating the involvement of all district and Regional Hospitals in treating clubfoot using the Ponseti Technique as a way of making treatment accessible to all children born with the deformity, promoting intense awareness creation and establishing a permanent Secretariat to coordinate the implementation of the clubfoot care project.
Reacting to the above requests, the Director in charge of Health Organizations and Enterprises, Prof. Essomba, said he was very impressed by the CBC Health Services Clubfoot Care project and assured that the Ministry will definitely support the initiative. He said it was worthwhile coming to present the project and the proposals for a scale up stating that it would be motivating if other surgeons and physiotherapy staff are trained on the Ponseti Technique. Prof. Essomba promised to write a comprehensive report of the visit of the CBC Director of Health Services and his team with all the recommendations and submit to the Minister of Public Health.
At the Ministry of Social Affairs Prof. Tih Pius and his team were received by the Director of the Department of the Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities, Mr. Jean Pierre Edjoa. Again Dr. Ndasi gave a brief summary of the CCC project telling the Director that the Ministry of Social affairs can influence the scale up of clubfoot care to a national level by influencing the ministry of Public Health in setting up a national clubfoot care program, putting in place measures to facilitate the access to treatment of children from poor backgrounds with clubfoot, promoting uptake of services by facilitating identification and referrals of children with clubfoot by social workers to clubfoot clinics and lastly by promoting intense awareness creation.
Mr. Jean Pierre Edjoa said the Clubfoot Project is a good initiative in Cameroon which has a health and social dimension. He went on that unlike other countries, in Cameroon when a child is born with the clubfoot deformity all hopes of remedy are dashed due to ignorance of the right treatment method. He assured the CBC Health Services team that they are going to consider supporting the project.
The visits to both Ministries ended with warm handshakes, words of gratitude from both parties and exchange of contacts.
It should be noted that the CCC project started in 2014 with just four clinics in the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country, but thanks to advocacy and trainings offered to physiotherapy and orthopaedic staff from other health institutions, clubfoot care/treatment using the Ponseti Technique is now offered in nine health facilities in four regions of the country.
The five additional facilities include the Presbyterian General Hospital Kumba, St. John of God Hospital Nguti, the Protestant Hospital Ngaoundere, Associated Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped Buea and Fondation Rudolphe D’orthopedie et Traumatologie (FROT), Yaounde. So far more than 200 children born with the clubfoot deformity have been treated within the context of the Cameroon clubfoot care project.
It should be noted that one to two out of every 1000 babies are born with the clubfoot deformity worldwide.

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