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Clubfoot to be Institutionalized in Cameroon Public Health System

By Awa Jacques Chirac & Fru Rita Ngum.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project (CCCP) has held a working session for the setting-up of a National Clubfoot Initiative in Cameroon. The expectations and actions arrived at during the meeting will ensure placing new cases of clubfoot deformity on treatment each year, training of personnel on the Ponseti management of clubfoot, and creating awareness of the clubfoot deformity and treatment options by communities.

The meeting that held at the Ministry of Public Health in Yaoundé on April 5, 2018 was attended by Head of MALARIA and NTDs Sub-Department, Dr NKO’AYISSI Georges, Public Health Expert, Dr. Mefoug Severin, Senior Public Health Administrator, Irene Megeh, CCCP Clinical Supervisor, Dr.  Ndasi Henry and CCCP Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac. It envisaged that the engagement of the Ministries of Public Health, Communication, Social Affairs, Basic Education, Women’s Empowerment and the Family and other partners will contribute to the proper management of clubfoot.

The initiative to institutionalize clubfoot in the Cameroon Public Health system started in 2015 with discussions with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) within the framework of a clubfoot national stakeholder conference. Later in 2017, the partnership with Mercy Ship for the management of clubfoot in Cameroon served as a vessel to intensify discussions on the need for a national clubfoot program.

It is in follow up with the first planning meeting held in December 2017 that the CCC Project was invited for a working session aimed at developing a concept for a National Clubfoot Care Project.

The outcome of the one day workshop chaired by Dr. NKO’AYISSI Georges was that the MoPH is designing a major program on neglected surgical conditions informed by Mercy Ship’s interventions in Cameroon. He noted that the national clubfoot project will target a yearly group of 500 cases and cost of treatment per case is estimated at 250,000 fcfa. To achieve this goal, Ponseti trainings will be organized quarterly for 25 personnel making a total of 100 trainees yearly and for a period of 4 years after which 200 of them will be selected and provided refresher courses.

The members of the meeting also agreed that at kick-off, Regional Focal Points will be appointed and reporting will be integrated in district level reporting. A coordination team will also be created at the national level to bring on board other stakeholders of neglected surgical conditions.

After the meeting, the MoPH completed and shared a concept note with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon and prepared a summary of the plans arrived at, to inform the Prime Minister’s speech in April during the celebration of the progress of clubfoot patients.  On the other hand, the CCCP did a summary presentation of the project to the Prime Minister during that ceremony.

This major program will be placed under the coordination of the Prime Ministry. Should this finally happen, then it will be a dream come true for the CCC Project, which is putting its fingers crossed.

At the end of the meeting, the CCC Project Manager held another meeting with the CBM Country Representative in Yaoundé to share with him the direction of the CCC Project from inception till date.

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