Around 2 000 children are born with clubfoot in South Africa every year. Clubfoot is a birth defect that is treatable. Untreated clubfoot causes disability. Children with untreated clubfoot cannot wear shoes or walk normally because their feet are rigid, turned inwards and pointed down.
This is the challenge that faces hundreds of babies and children attending clubfoot clinics in South Africa. Children like Ndalwentle Makoko from Khayelitsha who was born with bilateral clubfoot and is currently making tremendous progress at the Tygerberg Hospital clubfoot clinic.
Sadly, there are still many children living with the shame, pain, and isolation of disability caused by untreated clubfoot, with about 150,000 new cases worldwide and more than 80% of these in developing countries.
Steps Clubfoot Care is a non-profit organisation, based in Cape Town, that improves the lives of children born with clubfoot. Steps supports 35 clubfoot clinics in the state sector, providing training, parent education, clinic support and clubfoot braces to ensure that more children can access this vital treatment.
The non-invasive and effective Ponseti method is the gold standard of clubfoot treatment and is used in South African clubfoot clinics nationally. Since Steps was founded in 2005, over 10 000 children have accessed life-changing treatment, almost 600 medical professionals have been trained and over 9 000 clubfoot braces distributed.
“Early diagnosis and treatment is so important, sometimes families don’t know that clubfoot is treatable and there is ignorance in the community that causes shame and emotional distress. Our campaign message is that ‘Clubfoot is treatable’, and it’s not your fault that your child has clubfoot.” says Luke Engel (28), Steps marketing manager.
The STEPtember challenge on BackaBuddy.
Starting this September, Steps Clubfoot Care is challenging all South Africans to pledge 300 000 steps this month to remove the stigma around clubfoot and raise funds to help children affected by the condition walk!
Already signed up to the challenge is record-breaking para-athlete, Charne Felix (32) from Cape Town, who was born with clubfoot.
“I was born with a unilateral clubfoot and underwent numerous surgeries. I had my first surgery at a day old and wore a cast up to my hip. After the surgery I was put in boots and later wore Pronator Boots every day up until I was five years old. Creating more awareness about clubfoot is what excites me. STEPtember helps to create awareness and eliminate the shame due to ignorance or being uninformed. clubfoot is treatable and the deformity is not permanent. I am so proud to be a Steps ambassador.” says Charne
“Every step you take during STEPtember helps to remove the stigma of clubfoot, spread the message that it is treatable, and provides support for these amazing kids. That should keep you motivated! And bonus – you start your summer with an extra spring in your step – and a bit fitter and leaner!” – says Luke
What you need to do
- Sign up to create your campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy and set a fundraising target for yourself that you think you can reach.
- On social media let your followers know what inspired you to take on the challenge for STEPS and share your BackaBuddy link for donations.
- Don’t forget to get your 10 000 STEPS in!