Our partner organisation of the month, A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO) work all over the world with children with orthopaedic problems. They provide treatment for many children born with clubfoot in the countries where they work. Read on to find out more about what they do, in their own words:
‘A Leg To Stand On (“ALTSO”) is a non-profit organisation providing free orthopaedic care – including prosthetic limbs, orthotic devices, mobility aids, corrective surgery and rehabilitative care – to children in the developing world who have lost limbs in traumatic accidents or suffer from congenital limb disabilities.
ALTSO works in countries where there is a staggering need for orthopaedic treatment due to landmines, violence, and most simply – poverty. To maximise their reach and serve the neediest populations, ALTSO implements programmes in local hospitals and clinics (“Programme Partners” or “Implementing Partners”) that have solid track records in providing paediatric orthopaedic care.
Since ALTSO’s first program in India in 2003, they have treated nearly 10,000 children. This year, ALTSO is operating 11 programs in 10 developing countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, and has registered 1,761 children for treatment.
Of the estimated 200,000 babies born with clubfoot a year, more than 80% live in the developing world, and most of these babies are left untreated or receive inadequate care. ALTSO’s programmes in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan utilise the Ponseti Method of clubfoot correction as well as surgical measures in cases of neglected clubfoot to straighten the feet of patients from birth to 18 years of age.
Since January 2011, ALTSO has provided 275 clubfoot corrections via the Ponseti Method and nearly 300 surgical corrections for neglected clubfoot cases. ALTSO plans to continue its clubfoot programmes in the previously mentioned countries and work closely with its programme partners to ensure early identification programmes are in place.
|April 22, 2013||to||April 26, 2013|
22-26 April 2013: Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services will host a training course in Mbingo in Ponseti treatment for clubfoot, Steenbeek Foot Abduction Brace (SFAB) construction and surgical training for neglected clubfoot.
The course will be led by Mr Steve Mannion, UK orthopaedic surgeon and Michiel Steenbeek, physiotherapist and inventor of the SFAB, both of whom are trustees of Global Clubfoot Initiative.
If you would like more information on this course please contact us.
Global Clubfoot Initiative partner organisations Aide Médicale et Développement, Impact Foundation, Walk for Life and Zero Clubfoot are prominent in clubfoot treatment in Bangladesh. Since 2009, their collective efforts together with the Bangladesh Ministry of Health have seen thousands of children receive the life changing treatment they need and established services for clubfoot around the country. This report from Bangladesh highlights the great work being done there…
Using the Ponseti method over 11000 feet (7 000 children) have now started treatment to correct this deformity.
Our partners have established clinics throughout the country, so that few children have to travel more than 60kms for treatment. All treatment is free of cost.
The majority of the clinics are in government hospitals. Since 2009 our partners have been building awareness throughout the community. Thousands of community health workers look out for children with clubfoot. Programmes are in place that allow parents of children with clubfoot to support each other. The huge treatment database is now being used for research programmes. The first research paper has been accepted for publication in the prestigious Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics.
Sustainability is being built by working within the government system: government orthopaedic surgeons oversee many of the clinics. A strong MOU is in place with the Ministry of Health: clubfoot treatment is now in the 5-year strategic health plan. This MOU allows for the introduction of Ponseti training in the curriculum of medical universities, and colleges training other health professionals.
In the Dhaka Divison (population over 50 m) it is now estimated that over 75% of children born with this deformity receive free treatment in the first year of their life from our partners’ clinics.
Central to the Ponseti treatment is the wearing of foot abduction braces at night for up to 3 years. Approximately 1000 low cost braces are produced and distributed free of cost throughout the country every month.
The Minister of Health Professor Ruhal Haque warmly congratulated the clubfoot programmes in his recent address to the Bangladesh Conference of Orthopedic Surgeons in February 2013.
Volunteer overseas surgeons and physiotherapists regularly visit Bangladesh to train and evaluate.
Bangladesh Ponseti practitioners are now helping to establish similar programs in Myanmar.
Professor Fred Dietz recently commented:
“The Walk for Life program is quite simply the most effective clubfoot program in the developing world that I have seen or heard about. In 3 short years I have gone from being a teacher of the Ponseti technique to merely an evaluator in clinic quality – which is excellent! “
Professor Dietz is Professor of Pediatric Orthopaedics at the University of Iowa. He was trained by Professor Ponseti and became a long time colleague.