STEPS South Africa and Beit CURE Hospital in Malawi are the two latest organisations to join GCI as associate partner organisations. Welcome!
Beit Cure Hospital Malawi
The Beit CURE International Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi is a 72-bed teaching hospital that specialises in treating the orthopaedic needs of both adults and children. It is part of the CURE International network of hospitals, and its mission is to help children with physical disabilities throughout Malawi for free, regardless of ethnic background, religious affiliation or ability to pay. The National Clubfoot Programme is coordinated at the Hospital, with the aim of ensuring that all children born with clubfoot in Malawi are treated appropriately using the Ponseti method.
Find out more at their website: http://www.curehospital.mw/home.
STEPS South Africa
STEPS Charity is a regional organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa. STEPS’ goal is to contribute to the eradication of poverty & hunger* in Southern Africa by establishing (in collaboration with medical professionals and organisations) the cost-effective & medically proven Ponseti method as the preferred treatment for clubfoot. STEPS has hosted local Ponseti training and continues to provide information and support to families until every child born with clubfoot has early and effective treatment, and access to care by a health care provider trained in the Ponseti method.
*1st UN Millennium Development Goal ‘Eradication of poverty & hunger’
Parents’ information website: www.clubfoot.co.za
To see a full list of partner organisations, go to our ‘partners page’ here.
If you are interested in joining GCI as a partner organisation please contact us.
Bedford J, Chidothi P, Sakala H, Cashman J, Lavy C. (2011) Clubfoot in Malawi: treatment seeking behaviour. Tropical Doctor 41:211-214
What do children born with clubfoot in Malawi most want to be able to do?
According to new research published this year children born with clubfoot most want treatment to enable them to ride a bicycle! Followed closely by the desires to climb trees and play football. In some cases, children themselves are the ones who convince their parents to take them to clinics for treatment.
Why do parents of children born with clubfoot in Malawi look for treatment for their children?
This may seem like a strange question at first but it is a very important one, especially for those healthcare professionals who want to provide treatment for as many children as possible. Understanding the beliefs and attitudes that motivate guardians can help us reach them more easily and effectively.
What are the drivers that cause parents to seek out treatment?
Sixty parents of children with clubfoot were interviewed as part of the research. They reported that the strongest reason to seek treatment was the desire that their child should be able to live a ‘normal life’ free of disability. More specifically, parents’ ambitions for their children included helping with chores and income generating activities such as carrying wood and agricultural work, attending school, and getting married.
A second very important driving factor was instruction from a health care professional to go for treatment. Imagine the difference it makes for a parent if the condition is diagnosed quickly and an effective solution offered confidently – the difference, for many parents, between looking for treatment or not.
What are the barriers to looking for treatment?
Parents cited 4 main barriers to seeking for treatment for their children:
- The most common were the logistical problems to do with attending clinics, with the most frequently mentioned of these being transport. Parents travelled for up to 10 hours to attend each clinic at a cost of 50-1500 Malawi Kwacha – the equivalent of between 0.5 – 12 days wages for the average Malawian! This must be repeated weekly for 6-10 weeks and every few months thereafter and so adds up to a considerable expense.
- Lack of knowledge about the condition and treatment available.
- Lack of family support, particularly from the child’s father for the treatment.
- Poverty and socioeconomic status. Whoever brings the child to clinic risks losing a day’s wages on top of the cost of transport. This expenditure and loss of income means that in some cases the child’s treatment had to be prioritised above others household items such as amenities, schooling, health care and clothing for family members.
On balance, parents seeking treatment for a child born with clubfoot in Malawi face some very significant barriers. The desire to seek treatment and the belief that treatment will offer some hope must be strong in order to overcome these. This article helps us to understand how barriers can be minimised and suggests strategies that might be put in place to help parents access the treatment their children need.