Improving the lives of children born with clubfoot
Tygerberg Hospital has partnered with Steps Clubfoot Care, a non-profit organisation, to improve the lives of children born with congenital deformities of the foot which are caused by the abnormal development of a baby’s bones, ligaments, and muscles while in the mother’s womb. In 2020, the hospital’s orthopaedic clinic saw 39 new patients enrolled, managed 531 patient clinic appointments, and treated 134 patients.
3 June is World Clubfoot Day. Designed to raise global awareness of clubfoot (a treatable birth defect), this day is of specific significance in South Africa, where around 2 000 of children are born with clubfoot every year. Children born with clubfoot are unable to walk, run or play due to their feet being rotated inwards or downwards or legs being unequal lengths.
Anilafe Mkhota (2) from Kraaifontein was born with unilateral clubfoot, and thanks to Steps Clubfoot Care, she received a size 4 Ponseti Mitchell clubfoot brace generously donated by sponsors. Anilafe’s grateful mother, Maness, had this to say:
“I am very happy with my daughter's foot; no one would ever know that she had clubfoot when she was born. Anilafe now wears the boots every night and no longer must wear them during the day. For the first three months, I would put them on her for 23 hours a day. The boots are very comfortable and easy to use. My daughter reminds me every night to put her shoes on. She will wear them until she is 4 years old just to make sure her foot does not turn back in.”
Born with bilateral clubfoot, 3-year-old Bulumko Magwegwe from Delft is another clubfoot survivor. His mother, Mobaxousi, had this to share:
“I never expected that my son would have clubfoot when he was born. I had never heard about it; no one in my family had ever had clubfoot. I was shocked. The nurse that helped me deliver my son told me I must take my boy to the Tygerberg Hospital clubfoot clinic. She said they would be able to help.
“Everyone at the clinic told me that if I took my son to his clubfoot appointments and followed the process, everything would be okay. They gave me hope. Steps made me feel that I was supported. I was given all the information about clubfoot and my son's treatment process.
“My advice to parents with a baby born with clubfoot is they must not give up; they must keep coming to the clinic and they will see the difference every week. My son likes running and playing with his friends. No one believes me when I tell people what Bulumko’s feet were like when he was born. I am very thankful to everyone that helped.”
Tygerberg Hospital remains committed to providing high-quality diagnoses to children born with clubfoot. This ensures that patients who are treated early grow up to wear ordinary shoes and lead full, active lives.
Byron la Hoe
Western Cape Government Health: Communications
Cell: 072 368 0596