Clubfoot condition has emerged as a major factor of disability among children, with 50,000 infants born with it in India every year, said Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday.

The Ponseti Method

Inaugurating the National Clubfoot Conference organised by CURE International India Trust in partnership with State governments to raise public awareness on prevalence of clubfoot condition, Mr. Ansari said though clubfoot is easily identifiable and curable given timely intervention, a large number of children with the condition in rural areas are rendered permanently disabled for want of access to timely cure and treatment.

“Until recently many children with clubfoot were treated surgically, which is not only an expensive, but a less than fully satisfactory option due to relatively poor long-term results. Apparently, now a new method – The Ponseti Method -- can correct the foot deformity in children in a more cost effective and efficient manner. Its relevance in low resource setting cannot be over estimated. The Ponseti method, I am told, is now the standard of all National Clubfoot programmes across the globe. Its phenomenal success is attributable to a combination of sound scientific knowledge, applied in an integrated socio-medical environment using the already existing health care delivery system in many countries,” Mr. Ansari said.

The Vice-President expressed concern that there are more than 10 million persons in India with loco-motor disabilities.

“Until two years ago, polio was a major cause of disability. However, thanks to an effective anti-polio programme, based on Government, non-government organisation and international partnership, we have not had a single case of paralytic poliomyelitis for the last two years. With the eradication of polio, it becomes logical to address the other causes of childhood disabilities; congenital clubfoot is one of them,” he said.

Free treatment

He also expressed happiness over the programme where State governments partnered with CURE International to help treat children with clubfoot and NRHM had also entered this partnership, which has seen 7,000 children enrol for free treatment in 18 States in India.

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