Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) volunteers and field workers from the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have been called upon to network, sensitize, educate, identify and follow up cases of clubfoot to ensure treatment. The call came from the Project Manager for the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project (CCCP), Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac during a one day workshop that took place on February 19 at the Pastoral Center in Bamenda.The objective of the workshop was to present phase two of CCCP to volunteers and field workers while highlighting the role they have to play to ensure the uptake of clubfoot services. With the recent approval of the second phase of the project and one of the activities being to ensure that more community structures integrate clubfoot in their mandates, the workshop aimed at educating the CBR workers on techniques of clubfoot sensitization, identification and referrals. Unveiling phase two of the project, the Project Manager said CBM Germany has approved it to run from January 2016 to December 2018. He noted that in phase one of the project, close to 300 children were treated of clubfoot, 64 personnel trained and 102 awareness campaigns carried out.
Phase two of the project has as purpose to ensure that children born with clubfoot access quality care and treatment in recognized and specialized clinics in Cameroon. This phase of the project has been extended from two to five regions; Northwest, Southwest, Center, West, and Littoral. Mr. Awa revealed that the number of facilities in these regions will increase from four to 20 with 1500 children born with clubfoot expected to be treated within the three years.
The Project Manager, Mr. Awa went further to say that they will work with stakeholders such as Social Affairs, Public Health, Education, Women’s Empowerment and the Family, and churches amongst others to see that more community structures integrate clubfoot activities in their mandates and institutions and have the capacity to provide quality treatment to more children born with clubfoot.
Given that children born with clubfoot find it difficult to uptake services due to barriers poverty, ignorance, neglect, lack of parental involvement, stigma, and village births, the CCCP Officer, Ms. Tina Ashiyo identified ways in which participants can overcome these barriers. According to her, education, sensitization, advocacy and networking, reporting, counselling and follow up can mitigate these barriers.
The CBC Health Services Supervisor for Physiotherapy Services, Mr. Nkwenti Alfred from Mbingo Baptist Hospital said children born with clubfoot face difficulties in walking, girls may end up not getting married while many of them may not go to school. He rejoiced that clubfoot is treated/corrected at a very low cost especially when children are taken for treatment early in life.
Speaking at the close of the training, the CBR Supervisors for CBC Health Services and the Presbyterian Rehabilitation Services, Mr. Kenchi Joseph and Mr. Bisong Michael respectively alongside other workshop facilitators challenged the participants to be ambassadors of disability related issues by creating awareness, advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in developmental actions and ensuring that children with clubfoot access health services for treatment.
The over 120 volunteers and field workers, with 19 coming from the Presbyterian Rehabilitation Services, in the Southwest Region, applauded the Services for Persons with Disabilities (SPD) of the CBC Health Services for building their capacities on disability issues. They pledged their commitment to work effectively to improve on the lives of persons with disabilities.