Statistics reveal that 63% of births in Cameroon is done by train birth attendants with little or no knowledge on the clubfoot deformity with an estimated 2 out of 1000 children born with clubfoot deformity. It is against this backdrop that the CBC Health Services in partnership with CBM in 2014 designed the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project (CCCP) with the objective to provide quality treatment to all children with clubfoot deformity.
It was in line with the objective of the Project that the CCCP organized a 2 day workshop on Ponseti method of treating clubfoot for 10 partner clinics from 5 regions of Cameroon in order to build their capacities and refresh their minds on the Ponseti method.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Project Manager Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac disclosed that 650 children have had access to clubfoot treatment services with most of them being boys. A majority of those treated he disclosed are from the NW and SW Regions because of much awareness raising given that the project was piloted in those regions. Mr Awa appreciated participants for the work that they have been doing in their different clinics to improve on the quality of life for children with clubfoot
Greeting the participants, the Deputy Director of Human Resource Development at the Ministry of Public Health Mrs. Kechia Assumpta applauded the CBC Health Services for initiating the CCCP which she says will reduce the prevalence of clubfoot cases in Cameroon. She encouraged the participants to acquire skills which will enable them treat children with clubfoot deformity
According to the main Facilitator Dr. Nguene André an Orthopedic Surgeon in Yaounde partnering with the CCCP, the workshop was an opportunity to upgrade skills and refresh the minds of participants on the ponseti method. He noted that it is the dream of the CCCP to have government incorporate the Clubfoot in the academic curriculum in health institutions.
Presenting on the Ponseti method, Dr Ngene told the participants that there are two phases of treatment being the correction and the maintainace phases. He noted that treatment must always go through manipulation, casting, tenotomy and bracing.
For her part Stephanie Necdema Physiotherapy Assistant at PROHAMDICAM, Yaounde one of the facilitators emphasized that participants should always let the parents understand that the success of the treatment lies on their commitment to appointments Given that some parents will always forget the appointment dates, she told them to always get their contacts and call them to remind them of their appointments
Maxime Azanguim another Facilitator from PROHAMDICAM drilled the participants on the difference between clubfoot and a normal foot .He also schooled them on when tenotomy which is the third stage of treatment is due but emphasized that it must be done by a trained medical doctor.
The workshop which brought together 21 participants being physiotherapists, Physiotherapy Assistants and some Medical doctors from the Centre, Far North, North, West, Littoral, and Southwest Regions was characterized by practical sessions on plastic models and on 5 children with clubfoot present for treatment and 1 of them referred to Douala for treatment given that the parents are based in Douala They were there for the purpose of the workshop. For example, “ 3 children undergoing treatment and two new cases were present for continuation and commencement of treatment for the purpose of the workshop”
In October and early November the CCCP team undertook a monitoring and evaluation visit to the partner clinics and one of the things noticed was the rate of default from parents, the Monitoring & Evaluation Officer Ndzi Grace recommended that to avoid default, the clinics should , have clinic days, involve fathers in treatment, visit and call the parents.
In an interview with participants, they expressed their satisfaction with the workshop and said they were going back with improved skills which will help them treat the clubfoot deformity appropriately.
At the close of the workshop, the CCCP manager called on the clinics to institute a stock card to ensure the effective use of clubfoot consumables and do proper counselling with the parents before and during treatment. He revealed that the CCCP team had discussions with the Ministry of Public Health and there are plans for the government to take positive moves towards the project are in progress. He also revealed that the CCCP is already partnering with Mercy Ships to increase access to clubfoot services. Mr. Awa concluded that the current phase of the project ends in 2018 and the next phase will definitely go operational