What is Clubfoot?
Clubfoot is a complex, congenital deformity of the foot also known as ‘congenital talipes equinovarus’ (CTEV) caused by the abnormal development of a baby’s bones, ligaments and muscles whilst in the womb. Visually, the foot affected by clubfoot appears to be twisted inwards and downwards.
Clubfoot and its prevalence in Bangladesh:
Every year in Bangladesh an estimated 3900 children are born with a clubfoot deformity (a condition where the feet are turned inside at birth).
Left untreated, the condition leads to lifelong deformity causing individual disability and potential unproductively. This causes the children to grow up as burdens of the family and ultimately leads to significant poverty. Many of the beggars in Bangladesh have clubfeet.
The world wide standard of treatment is now the Ponseti Method: it is effective, inexpensive, and gives outstanding results. Worldwide it has a 95% success rate. Through progressive casting, the soft, pliable tissues of the foot are corrected as shown below. There is no invasive surgery. Children enroll as young as one month.
Walk for Life – The Clubfoot Program of Bangladesh:
The founder of The Glencoe Foundation – Colin Macfarlane started the “Walk For Life” clubfoot treatment program in Bangladesh. Through this project, providing clubfoot treatment to the children born with clubfoot in Bangladesh up to three (03) years of age with the Ponseti Method that does not require invasive surgery.
“Walk for Life” started piloting in Bangladesh in 2009 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Following its success, the program has been expanded by setting up 34 Walk for Life Clubfoot Rehabilitation centers across the country providing treatment. In 2014, the program was recognized as the “National Clubfoot Program of Bangladesh”. Walk for Life won BMJ Award in 2016. Since September 2019, the program has been operating through the establishment of a cost recovery model and has arrangements for the treatment of clubfoot children from financially poor families.
On June 30, 2022, The Glencoe Foundation successfully completed the Walk For Life clubfoot program in Bangladesh by enrolling more than 30,800 clubfoot children (along with partner organizations) in treatment. With the assurance of continuing the clubfoot treatment program, the responsibility of implementation of the Walk for Life clubfoot treatment program was transferred to Sancred Welfare Foundation (SWF) from July 2022 and has already received approval from the NGO Bureau to run the program for the next 2 years.