Better rehab for children with club foot soon


In efforts to identify and treat children with club foot at an early stage, a training programme by the Miracle Foot Foundation – a United States non-governmental organisation (NGO) – will be rolled out in Guyana.

It will see the overseas volunteers working with rehabilitation assistants at the Ministry of Health and the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation centre to improve local techniques to identify and treat children with clubbed feet.

Club Foot is a range of foot abnormalities usually present at birth. In clubfoot, the tissues connecting the muscles to the bone are shorter than usual.

At the launch of the programme at the rehabilitation centre on Wednesday, a representative from the NGO, Felipe Campbell, said the programme will be rolled out over the next three years.

This is to get early detection of the abnormality in young children and commence treatment which includes the use of braces and prosthesis to prevent further advancement of the misalignment of the tissues.

The effort comes after a partnership between the rehabilitation centre, the North Carolina-based NGO, and the Ministry was developed earlier this year.

Following a memorandum to partner, Miracle Feet gave Ptolemy Reid a grant amounting to over US$12,000 to conduct the programme with additional funding from the ministry.

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony surrounded by the board of the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre and members of the Miracle Feet Foundation (Photo: News Room/ August 17, 2022)

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony who gave the feature address said, “this training is very important because the focus of the programme, or this part of the programme, is to train a number of our rehab assistants who normally would work in the interior of our country.”

“To train them to diagnose club foot and then to be able to offer this treatment which is very cost effective, very affordable, we have the material. It is just the technique that we have to learn and once we are able to do that, we can make a big difference to that child.”

“We recognised that we do have children from time to time who are born in Guyana and they have clubbed feet,” the Minister added.

Dr Anthony said the children with this abnormality, living on the coastlands, have the benefit of getting treated early.

However, for those living in the hinterland, the Minister said, “the difficulty comes when the child is born in the interior and this goes unrecognised, and if the intervention does not happen early enough, this becomes more problematic as the child grows older.”

He noted that clubbed feet can be harder to treat when the abnormality has worsened.

This project is the first that Miracle Feet is doing in Guyana and by extension the Caribbean, to offer training. Acknowledging this monumental move, Dr Anthony said he hopes this collaboration will influence other Caribbean countries to seek this type of partnership as well.

“We hope that your work here would demonstrate to the rest of the Caribbean what is possible.”

“…and perhaps in future training that you may do, we can invite persons from the Caribbean to come here where they can receive training here and they can go back to the respective countries and put these techniques in place,” the Minister suggested.

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