The Ministry of Public Health (MOH) has pledged its readiness to work with the CBC Health Services to ensure increased access to clubfoot treatment following the recent Ministerial Approval on the treatment of Clubfoot treatment using the Ponseti method. Dr. NKO’Ayissi George from MOH made the assurance during a clubfoot implementation meeting, which took place recently at the CBC Health Services’ Resource Center at Mvan, Yaounde. The meeting was organized by the MOH in collaboration with the Cameroon Clubfoot Care (CCC) Project with the purpose of putting in place an effective strategy for the management of clubfoot in Cameroon.
The meeting brought together some staff of MOH, health regional authorities, orthopedic surgeons, and the leadership of health facilities providing clubfoot treatment. Dr. George Ayissi chaired the meeting under the watchful eyes of the Director of CBC Health Services. Prof. Tih Pius, CCC Project Manager Awa Jacques Chirac, CCC Project National Coordinator, Tamon James, the CCC Project Clinical Supervisor Dr. Henry Ndasi and the CBM Country Representative, Fon Julius.
In his presentation, the Clinical Supervisor highlighted the major achievements of the previous phases of the project such as the huge number of children treated of clubfoot, training of physiotherapy staff on the Ponseti method, and advocacy at different levels which has yielded fruits. He equally decried the fact that there are still many children with clubfoot in the community who have not been treated because of ignorance, and long distances to treatment centers as a result of few treatment sites amongst others.
Dr. Ndasi noted that integrating clubfoot into the Cameroon public health system is a great milestone in the life of the CCC Project, reason why much is expected from the government to put measures in place to increase access to treatment by all children with the deformity. He reiterated that CBC Health Services remains the main technical partner to the government in the objective to enable the government to ensure effective implementation of the clubfoot treatment using the Ponseti method.
With the background of the achievements and challenges presenting on the ground, Dr. Ayissi led deliberations on the strategies to be put in place to curb the prevalence of clubfoot in the country. Participants of the meeting proposed ways forward like awareness raising and sensitization, capacity building, community identification, and referrals coordination of clubfoot treatment sites at the facility and regional levels, monitoring, research and learning, subsidies for clubfoot in all facilities amongst other measures as a means of integrating clubfoot into the public health system.
At the end of the deliberations, Dr. Ayissi challenged all participants to put hands on deck to enable MOH as it strives to integrate clubfoot into the system given that it is a public health concern. He applauded the CBC Health Services and its partner for funding and nurturing the clubfoot initiative for the past years. He said, he is ready to forward resolutions to the appropriate quarters for implementation with technical advice from the CBC Health Services.
In his closing remarks, the Director of CBC Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius commended the MOH for embracing the clubfoot initiative, and for the ministerial approval on the treatment method which he is hopeful will gain steam especially in government facilities. He remains grateful to CBM for the funding.
The long-awaited meeting has come and gone, deliberations have been made. Given that clubfoot is a deformity that requires early identification and treatment, hopes are high that with the enthusiasm demonstrated by the government, the resolution will be implemented soonest to confirm the saying that “Government machinery grinds slowly but surely”.