Pretoria – The Clubfoot Clinic at George Mukhari Academic Hospital is giving babies and children born with the musculoskeletal defect a chance to walk normally.
Mothers whose children were undergoing treatment at the clinic to address the birth defect known as club foot could not stop singing the praises of the work being done by staff at the facility.
Diana Maepa, from Limpopo, said she came to the clinic after her aunt told her about it.
She previously tried getting help in Polokwane, but was told after two treatments that her son would need R4000 for a pair of specialised shoes to help correct his feet.
“I didn’t have that money, so I eventually stopped taking him for treatment thinking this would be his life for good. But my aunt said she had heard of the clinic which could possibly help us for free.
“I came here immediately and they started treating him. He’s only been here a few times, but I can already see the many changes. His feet were facing inwards before. I can’t thank them enough.”
Despite having sleepless nights due to each new cast, she said it was all worth it and was comforted knowing that her baby would be able to walk normally.
The clinic has been running with the assistance of NPO Steps Clubfoot Care since 2014, led by Dr Mkhulu Lukhuli.
Karen Moss initiated the clinics in 2005 after her son had to go overseas for treatment.
Moss said the doctor who treated her son encouraged her to introduce the method to South Africa as it was easy and inexpensive, and made a significant difference in children’s lives.
“You can set up a clinic like this anywhere because not a lot is required to do the procedure; all it needs are people with skills. You don’t need a big fancy theatre and lots of surgeons. It’s a low-resource procedure so it’s ideal for small clinics and ideal for rural areas.”
The organisation started the programme by supporting big hospitals for the past five to six years.
Moss said support staff gave parents vital education on how best to aid the process.
“Before we got involved we had a high drop-out rate as parents were not fully educated.
“The children are often taken care of by their grandparents who would end up taking off the braces,” she said.
“All we want parents to know is that they can get help and their children don’t have to be denied a chance at a normal life.”
There are mothers and children travelling from as far as Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga to get help from the Clubfoot Clinic at George Mukhari Academic Hospital.