By Fru Rita Ngum
The Representative of the Regional Delegate of Public Health for Littoral has reiterated Government’s commitment in improving on the quality of life of persons with disabilities and preventing disabilities. Dr Ekouw mi Ntanack Joseph was speaking on June 7, 2017 while launching commemorative activities marking the 2017 World Clubfoot Day in Mboppi Baptist Hospital, which took place under the theme, “Collectively breaking barriers that prevent the uptake of clubfoot treatment services”.
In his speech, Dr. Ekouw noted that in Cameroon existing data estimates that 1 to 2 out of every 1000 children are born with clubfoot every year thus making it a public health concern. He added that an observational analysis done by the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project indicates that majority of neglected clubfoot cases in Cameroon were as a result of ignorance of the right treatment options and the existence of clubfoot treatment services. He said the children born with clubfoot are at risk of not completing school, not finding a job and being excluded from social participation, thus making it the case for community involvement in the identification, referrals, treatment and follow up of children born with clubfoot. The government official congratulated the CBC Health Services for initiating the clubfoot project.
In separate presentations, the Clinical Supervisor of the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project, Dr. Henry Ndasi and the Clubfoot Clinic head of the Nylon District Hospital, Mr. Etone Gilbert described clubfoot as a foot or feet deformity that a child is born with the foot twisted inwards. They noted that clubfoot can be treated using the Ponseti technique, a standard method of treatment that is proven to be the most effective, efficient, and less costly.
The close to 600-man audience who congregated at the outpatient department marveled at the success rate of clubfoot treatment when the Head of the Physiotherapy Department, Mr. Nfor Ngalla presented images of the different stages of some children treated with clubfoot. Three parents whose children had successfully gone through the stages of treatment were on hand to testify about their children’s treatment. They noted that they were very depressed when they gave birth to their children but are today filled with joy seeing their children walking and playing with other children.
The event was also marked by live casting and manipulation on some children born with clubfoot under the watchful eyes of the representative of the Regional Delegate of Public Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Mboppi, the District Medical Officer, Physiotherapy staff at other partner clinics in Douala and the media.
At the close of the event which started with weeklong activities such as awareness raising on radio, television and churches, the Chief Medical Officer of Mboppi Baptist Hospital, Dr. Guy Molesa appreciated every one for coming to be part of the event. He said the goal of the project is to reduce the prevalence of children born with clubfoot in the community reason why he called on all to identity, and refer children born with clubfoot to the treatment centres.
It should be noted that the CBC Health Services initiated the Clubfoot Project in 2014 and stated the commemoration of the maiden edition of World Clubfoot Day in 2015 in Mbingo Baptist Hospital, the second edition took place in 2016 in Etoug-Ebe Baptist Yaounde while the 2017 edition in Mboppi Baptist Hospital Douala. The goal of the World Clubfoot Day is to raise awareness about clubfoot deformity and its prevention using the Ponseti method.