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Stakeholders from the government, faith based and private sectors have deliberated on ways to scale up Clubfoot Care to the national level

Stakeholders in Cameroon with Prof Tih at Yaounde Clubfoot Care ConferenceStakeholders from the government, faith based and private sectors have deliberated on ways to scale up Clubfoot Care to the national level. This was during a one day stakeholders’ conference on clubfoot care that took place at Mansel Hotel in Yaounde on July 10, 2015. The main objective of the conference was to enlist the full adoption and scale up of the treatment of clubfoot in health facilities nationwide with the active participation of all stakeholders under the leadership of Ministers of Public Health and Social Affairs.
The conference which was presided at by the Director in charge of Health Care Organization and Technology in the Ministry of Public Health, Prof. Arthur Essomba brought together over 40 stakeholders from the ministries of Public Health, Social Affairs, Basic and Secondary Education, Physiotherapists, Directors of some Government hospitals and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) supervisors among others.
Since the start of the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project in 2014, more than 150 children have received treatment by the Ponseti Technique in the project’s four pilot clinics namely the Physiotherapy departments of Mbingo, Banso and Mutengene Baptist Hospitals and SAJOCAH Bafut. However through advocacy, four new health facilities have officially partnered with the project and are using the Ponseti Technique in treating the clubfoot deformity.
The pilot phase of the project is gradually drawing to a close, yet there are still a number of children born with this deformity who have not accessed treatment services. It is against this backdrop that stakeholders from different sectors converged on Yaounde to seek ways on how to take clubfoot care to the national level.
Representing the Minister of Public Health, Prof. Essomba Arthur pledged the readiness of the Ministry to support the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project in advocacy, training of personnel and ensuring that it is treated not only in confessional or private hospitals but also in public hospitals. Prof. Essomba lauded the initiative of the CBC Health Services in coming up with the project. He attested that the clubfoot deformity affects many young Cameroonians and challenged stakeholders to be ambassadors of clubfoot care by referring those born with this deformity to the treatment centers.
Earlier, the Director of CBC Health Services Prof. Tih Pius Muffih expressed gratitude to the stakeholders for honoring his invitation to the conference. Prof. Tih assured all present that the CBC Health Services will continue to provide relevant capacity building to Doctors and Physiotherapists on the use of the Ponseti Technique in treating the clubfoot deformity in Cameroon. He called on the Government to buy the idea and make clubfoot a national project.
The Cameroon Clubfoot Project Manager, Awa Jacque Chirac noted that capacity building has been provided to 64 service providers, 105 field workers and close to 3000 people have been sensitized about the deformity. He noted that there is still ignorance of the services, cultural beliefs about clubfoot, parents resisting to take their children for treatment amongst other challenges.
The Northwest Regional Delegate of Public Health, Dr. Matilda Manjo, chaired deliberations on how to scale up clubfoot care to the national level with the stakeholders resolving to intensify sensitization by involving all actors in the community, service providers and related Ministries on clubfoot awareness. The stakeholders equally resolved to provide regular training to workers in the field and recommended that the Minister of Public Health should include clubfoot treatment in the training curriculum for training schools in order to increase human resources available to deliver the Ponseti Technique of correcting the clubfoot deformity. To this effect, a Clubfoot Care Task Force was put in place to follow up with the Government and ensure that a national policy for clubfoot care is established. The stakeholders are also set to extend pilot centers to other regions, with at least two special treatment centers per region.
Some parents whose children have benefited from clubfoot treatment were on hand to share testimonies on how their children can now walk without any difficulties. They revealed that some of the challenges they face in accessing services include long distances, cost of transportation and adherence to the treatment protocol.
The Secretary General at the Ministry of Social Affairs represented the Minister and used the closing ceremony to applaud the efforts of the CBC Health Services in fighting against clubfoot which if not treated will lead to a disability.

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