The Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) has begun public awareness on clubfoot in Ghana.
KOFIH’s Ghana Chapter Global Alumni is leading the campaign in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service.
Clubfoot is a deformity in which an infant’s foot is turned inward, often so severely that the bottom of the foot faces sideways or even upward.
One infant in every 1,000 live births has clubfoot, according to statistics.
Eighty percent of all clubfoot cases occur in low middle-income countries including Ghana, with only 15 percent having access to treatment.
Though the cause of clubfoot is unknown, some risk factors have been identified including family history, with secondary causes including genetic syndrome and neurologic conditions.
In Ghana, where 928 babies are born with clubfoot, superstition and curses have been cited by some as the cause.
This experts say leads to neglect of treatment thereby ruining the lives of children.
“If the child is left unattended to, the child becomes a permanent disability in our society and becomes a burden on the family and becomes a burden on the country at large,” observed the Vice President of KOFIH, Global Alumni Ghana Chapter, Gaetan Charles Adangabey.
“That is why we find street children who cannot walk, crawling in traffic, begging for alms.”
Treatment is said to be less than $400 per child with the deformity.
The success rate for treating is very high when identified early, according to Dr Reuben Kwesi Sakyi Ngissah, a Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital.
“We are looking at 90 to 95 percent and this is based on studies that have been conducted over 50 years.”
KGA President Dr Ralph Armah encouraged parents and guardians as well as family members with relatives of club foot to seek medical attention “because help is available”.
The Ghana Clubfoot Initiative started in 2008.