Sibahle Mhlahlo (aged 1) who is currently in the maintenance phase of her clubfoot treatment is a patient at our partner clinic at Tygerberg Hospital. She and her mom live in Strand, Western Cape, and they have to travel for 2 hours, taking 3 taxies each way, a total of four hours travel time for each clinic visit. Her mom Sandiswa shared a little bit about their journey so far, and what it has taken to ensure her daughter gets to all her appointments to receive the treatment she needs.
When my daughter was born I found out that she had clubfoot. I was very surprised and worried, I had never heard of clubfoot. The doctor assured me that there are clubfoot clinics and that it can be fixed. He made an appointment for me to take my daughter to the Tygerberg Clubfoot clinic.
Q: When did you find out that your daughter had clubfoot?
She was only 3 weeks old. At first I thought they would fix it there and then, and it would be quick and easy. I was very sad when my tiny baby girl got her first cast, but they assured me it would not cause any pain. Jane from Steps explained everything to me so that I knew what to expect. I kept telling myself it would be alright.
Q: Tell us a bit about your clubfoot journey:
“My daughter had nine casts, so I travelled to the clinic every Thursday for nine weeks. The travelling to the clinic was difficult for us as I do not work and it is so expensive. It’s a very long trip for us, taking two hours and three different taxis for us to get from our home to Tygerberg Clinic. But I tried my best for my daughter.”
Q: What advice would you give to parents whose child was diagnosed with clubfoot?
They must come, listen and do not give up! Make whatever the sacrifice to get to the clinic. I am talking from experience and my child’s feet are very good. I felt very supported in the clubfoot clinic. They told me not to worry and that everything would be alright. I spoke to other mothers too that had been through the same experience but at different stages, this really helped me.
Q: How did you hear about Steps?
I learned of Steps when I arrived for our first appointment at the clubfoot clinic. They have been so helpful throughout my journey!
Steps helped me on my journey with lots of support and advice. They told me to come back and I did. I am very very happy as my daughter is no longer disabled. She is a very happy and healthy child.