10 out of 800 children born in Ghana suffer clubfoot
About 10 out of every 800 children born in Ghana, suffer from a clubfoot deformity, the President of Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) Global Alumni–Ghana Chapter, Dr Ralph Armah, has revealed.
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.
He said this at the launch of the public awareness on clubfoot in Ghana on the theme “Early detection and treatment prevents future disability; The role of healthcare actors,” in Accra yesterday.
He explained that the deformity could affect either feet or one foot but, in the instance, where only one foot is affected, “you become so dependent on one foot which creates further problems for the unaffected foot.”
He added that the KOFIH Global Alumni–Ghana Chapter was implementing the sensitisation programme, as part of advocacy and policy interventions, to raise awareness about clubfoot treatment in Ghana.
He revealed that as part of the group’s duties to give back to society, the clubfoot sensitisation exercise would be followed by a blood donation programme and a clinical outreach in a deprived area.
He noted that the campaign would ensure that all children living with the deformity in the country were identified and provided with the treatment to avert further complications and stigma, as clubfoot was relatively easy and inexpensive to treat.
He appealed to midwives to draw the attention of mothers whenever they notice the deformity so they can seek treatment at the appropriate quarters.
A Senior Specialist, Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon, Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Dr Reuben Ngissah, revealed that the deformity could be treated in adults however its treatment was accompanied by several difficulties hence the need to treat it when the patient is still a child.
“When the patient is a child or baby, their tissues are very soft so it’s very easy to handle but when you wait for the child to grow, it becomes very difficult which means that we will have to consider other forms of treatment because casting might not work so we will have to rely on surgical interventions which are expensive,” he explained.
He appealed to all parents to seek early treatment for their children as it has a high success rate of about 95 per cent.
He urged the public to desist from tagging children with such deformity as “an evil spirit or bad luck” as it could be treated successfully.
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Allied Health at the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr Ignatius Awini buno, underscored the need to have in place resilient health systems, to generate more awareness and linkages to services.
He added that clubfoot cannot be entirely prevented but with early detection and early intervention, clubfoot can be managed and treated.
“To ensure a resilient health system, we need to have a health workforce that is fit-for-purpose and fit-to-practice, appropriate infrastructure, medical devices, health financing, and an up-to-date health information management system amongst others,” he said.
BY JESSEL LARTEY THERSON-COFIE