The Ministry of Health has collaborated with MiracleFeet, a US based non-profit organisation, which works to create universal access to treatment for Clubfoot.
Under this initiative, the organisation will work with the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre to bring a low cost, non-surgical solution, to children through the ‘Ponseti’ method of treatment.
Emphasis will be placed on Medical practitioners and Disability & Rehab Services personnel from the hinterland as children born with this disability are unlikely to receive treatment at an early stage.
Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony who was present at the launching recognised the difficulties children in the interior are faced with and lauded the partnership.
“The difficulties come when a child is born in the interior and this goes unrecognised, and if the intervention does not happen early enough, it becomes more problematic as the child grows older and that can be very very difficult to fix, if we see that child when it’s too late,” Dr. Anthony explained.
These medical personnel will receive training on how to facilitate the integration of the Ponseti method for treatment of clubfoot into the Guyana public health system, while enhancing equity and access to quality treatment for all children born with clubfoot in Guyana.
“We have the material, it is just the techniques that we have to learn and once we’re able to do that, then we can make a big difference to that child and obviously when that child grows up, they wouldn’t have that type of defect and therefore this is a very important programme.”
Meanwhile, representative of MiracleFeet, Felipe Campbell said this is the first time a programme like this is being implemented in the Caribbean. According to Campbell this programme will last for three years. “Our mission is to find and to give treatment for every kid that is born with Clubfoot. And it is not just to give a treatment, it is also to be careful of the quality of the treatment.” Author’s note: Treatment using the Ponseti method will in most cases involve 5-8 weeks of manipulations and castings. The foot is precisely and gently manipulated and then placed in a long leg (toe to groin) plaster cast. The cast should be well molded around the foot. The cast is removed after 5-7 days and the process is repeated. The foot should be in a fully corrected position after 5-6 casts. See more at https://www.miraclefeet.org/about-clubfoot/ponseti-method