Cape Town, South Africa (04 June 2020) – STEPS proudly launched the Steps Uthutho Fund on BackaBuddy, to celebrate 2020 World Clubfoot Day.
Initially planned as a transport and care package initiative, STEPS has decided to expand the campaign to provide PPE for frontline staff working at some of the 36 state clubfoot clinics that are short of stock and taking daily risks to support patients. The PPE will also be used for caregivers attending the clinics to minimise the risk of infection.
Travel to the clinics is expensive, and the cost of the initial regular weekly treatments impacts on the family income. Patients must be at the clinic at least 20 times for successful treatment. Treatment can fail if parents do not attend the clinics regularly, resulting in disability. The launch of the Steps Uthutho Fund is life-changing and will assist these families enormously.
The Western Cape has been selected as the launch site of the STEPS Uthutho Fund as STEPS head office is in Cape Town, specifically Tygerberg Hospital’s clubfoot clinic, and then it will be rolled out to other provinces. PPE will be distributed nationally from the start.
Each year STEPS joins in the international celebrations of World Clubfoot Day to maintain awareness of clubfoot, that it is a treatable congenital disability, and to commemorate the birthday of Dr Ignacio Ponseti on 3rd June.
Dr Ponseti was the originator of the groundbreaking, gentle, and non-invasive treatment of clubfoot. The Ponseti Method is now the globally accepted gold standard treatment for babies born with clubfoot.
Approximately 11,000 babies are born with clubfoot in Southern Africa annually, the second-highest rate of clubfoot in the world. Clubfoot can be treated at state health clinics using the Ponseti method, with a success rate of over 90%.
Founded in 2005, STEPS Charity is the only South African non-profit working to support babies born with clubfoot. ‘STEPS Clubfoot Care’ is an award-winning programme that supports the national network of clubfoot clinics.
This year, in a world living in lockdown and in the midst of the dramatic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, babies are still being born with clubfoot, and their treatment and support must continue. Mindful of this, celebrating World Clubfoot Day in 2020 is also celebrating the front line workers, the dedicated Steps staff and the loving caregivers who still manage to get their children to clinics treatment, in these very challenging times.