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Putting the best foot forward

Amid COVID-10 situation, MiracleFeet India carrying out patient care work the best possible way. Various response operations were carried out by MiracleFeet India amid COVID-10 situation.

Published on December 21, 2020 at 3:04 am

Updated on March 20, 2021 at 06:49 am

One of the treated patients at a Mumbai clinic.

Various response operations were carried out by MiracleFeet India amid COVID-10 situation. Parents were counselled regularly not only to assuage their concerns regarding a break in their child’s treatment but also to assure them about requisite safety precautions being taken in the clinics and by the staff, upon re-opening. In case of those clinics which were yet to start, patients were being directed to our other operational clinics, wherever possible.

Many of our partner government hospitals are converted to COVID hospitals and the government resources are directed to fight the pandemic. During their COVID relief activities, our government partners and community health workers continued identifying and referring clubfoot-affected children to us. Once our clinics re-opened, we scheduled appointments for the newly identified patients.

Since our partner doctors were attending to patients returning after a long gap, wherever needed, the doctors had access to training videos and expert national and international trainers.

Our staff attended WHO-certified training sessions as well as training in methods of counselling parents during COVID times.

Speaking with The Good Sight, Deepak Premnarayen, Co-Founder and Chairman, MiracleFeet Foundation for Eliminating Clubfoot, said, “We want the parent and child to feel safe. To reduce the risks for parents, patients, our programme staff and the doctors, we are following the guidelines and taking all the necessary steps including the use of masks, PPE kits, gloves, sanitisers. We are also disseminating knowledge to parents, families and the community on the importance of social distancing, masks and frequent washing of hands to reduce risks of contracting the disease. While the outreach activities of our programme executives are currently limited, moving forward we intend to increasingly use government network and frontline health workers for identification and referral of patients. Moving forward, we shall increase reliance on technology for staff training, doctor training, counselling and updating stakeholders.”

Clubfoot.

‘My daughter will not suffer like me’

Anjani has lived with untreated clubfoot her entire life. When her daughter, Ansi, was born with the same condition, she knew how difficult her child’s life would be, especially being a girl child.

She was elated to know that free treatment was available at our clinic in Basti District Hospital. She took public transport from the neighbouring district to reach our clinic.

She recounts, “Not only was the pain while walking unbearable, but the kids never played with me in my childhood. My father tried hard, but my feet could not be corrected. Ansi will not suffer the way I did.”

Anjani with her daughter Ansi (picture taken before the COVID-19 pandemic).

Unfortunately, with the advent of the pandemic, clinics began to close. We began instructing parents on how to remove casts on their children’s feet and assuring them that treatment will resume post lockdown. Fear had, however, gripped Anjani. Her concern was “What if this break in treatment would cause irreversible damage. She will end up like me”. Regular telephonic counselling helped her feel assured. When the clinic re-opened, we scheduled the next appointment for her.

However, public transport had not resumed and her husband, a migrant worker, was stranded in Mumbai. Determined that Ansi should not bear any delay in treatment, Anjani asked her brother to take them to the clinic on a bike. They drove 170 km on bad roads for every clinic visit.

During a recent clinic visit, Anjani was visibly happy and said, “Ansi will not remain disabled like me. Her story will be different.”

(MiracleFeet India is working to create access to quality clubfoot treatment (very few children currently have access). MiracleFeet India partners with the government to create a long-term and sustainable solution to this solvable problem, with a heavy focus on building local capacity. We are focused on building a pan India clubfoot programme.)

 

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