Fayah is a 14-year-old who was treated successfully for clubfoot after being identified by our partner organization in Liberia, FACORC, during outreach in Margibi County. He had severe neglected clubfoot which prevented him from walking normally and playing with his friends. According to Fayah, he has always been laughed at by his peer group; he was labeled as “crippled foot” or “crab foot” as clubfoot is commonly called in Liberia. Fayah was enrolled at FACORC clubfoot clinic in June of 2014 but had stopped coming due to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. FACORC staff performed a tenetomy in November 2014 (a normal part of Ponseti treatment that lengthens the Achilles tendon). After three more weeks of casting, Fayah’s casts were removed; he now walks normally. Fayah travels 45 miles every week to come to the clinic and miraclefeet/FACORC helps his family with transportation costs so that he can come.
Everyone reading this is likely following the West Africa Ebola crisis. As you might expect, FACORC, our partner organization in Liberia, has had to dramatically reduced their clubfoot clinic activities in its four miraclefeet-supported clinics in order to minimize any risk of Ebola exposure for patients and workers. They are still committed to community outreach about clubfoot and have added Ebola prevention outreach to their existing clubfoot-related education/outreach efforts.
The Liberian Ministry of Health has called upon all humanitarian organizations - including FACORC - to assist with current efforts to stop the spread of Ebola through community education on the prevention of transmission. FACORC and the Liberia Clubfoot Program, under the direction of Augustine Chiewolo, have responded to this request. In addition to providing outreach, miraclefeet received a list from the Ministry of Health of desperately needed supplies for people on the ground in Liberia and together our supporters have raised almost $4,000 to start sending these supplies. Augustine and miraclefeet are working together to send gear such as gloves, hand sanitizer and protective clothing to Liberia for workers there.
Obadiah was sucessfully treated through casting before the Ebola outbreak started. He is now in the long-term night time bracing phase of Ponseti treatment. At nine, he is now walking on straight feet for the first time and is finally getting the opportunity to attend school.
Please consider donating to our efforts in Liberia today. FACORC is a trusted partner of the Ministry of Health; they are working hard across the country to stop the spread of Ebola while continuing to share information about clubfoot treatment in all of the places where people gather. Our hearts are with our partners at FACORC and their loved ones in this difficult time.
Our heart goes out to the people of West Africa and the countries that our currently being highly impacted by the Ebola Virus, including Liberia where nearly 300 people have already died from the virus. We wanted to share an update from Augustine Chiewolo, the director of our partner clinic in Liberia, FACORC (Faith Clinical Orthopedic Rehab Center). FACORC is seeing the impact of the declared state of emergency daily. Augustine has confirmed that the outbreak and restrictions are unfortunately affecting their ability to treat new and existing clubfoot patients as travel is restricted, community outreach has been halted and assembling groups of patients is discouraged. Despite these precautions, FACORC’s team continues to treat clubfoot patients who are able to attend clinic and are symptom-free. They are using precautions to avoid possible contamination and are taking the opportunity to educate families on the spread of Ebola.
Community outreach is so important, and our partner clinic staff members and volunteers in Liberia are absolute pros at it. We recently received a grant to buy them a new vehicle to improve their ability to provide outreach in remote areas of Liberia.
This couple below recently found out about FACORC and were truly happy to have found a place where their one-week-old child can be treated. The mother said she had been ashamed to bring her child outdoors because of the deformity. Here they are before and after his first casts.
This older boy is being treated for clubfoot and is benefiting from miraclefeet-supported academic scholarship. Thanks for supporting this important work in Liberia!
Last week the outreach team at our partner clinic in Liberia, FACORC, had their staff (“FOOT SOLDIERS,” as we call them) visit high schools in and around Monrovia to do advocacy about clubfoot. These dedicated staff members from the Liberia Clubfoot Program are trained in disseminating health messages to people in public places. They are called FOOT SOLDIERS specifically because they walk many hours and miles on their feet to ensure that clubfoot is minimized or eradicated across Liberia. Reaching high school children ensures that more people will know that clubfoot CAN in fact be treated.
The outreach team also made their way to the village of Totota in Bong County, about four hours from Monrovia, where they talked to parents about clubfoot.
One child with untreated bilateral clubfoot was found in the village (see below). The child also has spinal bifida and, when the baby was born, many people told the mom that the baby had been cursed with black magic and should be abandoned. She did not agree. Below, the FACORC team is counseling mom on how Ponseti treatment can improve the child’s well-being.
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Director of Fundraising