July 23, 2024

Parents of children who were born with clubfoot are encouraged to report their condition and get treated through proper clinical intervention.
Clubfoot is a lower-limed deformity also called as “kapingkawan sa paa”, which can be corrected if treated on time through a series of clinical processes.
The Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare (PNGOC), through the support of North Carolina, U.S.-based foundation MiracleFeet, has provided support to partner clinics and hospitals all over the country, including Baguio General Hospital and Benguet General Hospital, to treat clubfoot for free.
In a meeting with City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on March 7, PNGOC Executive Director Chi Laigo-Vallido reported the project has so far reached out to 71 beneficiaries in Baguio since bringing the service in the city in 2019, allowing them to get treated and live normal lives.
Benguet has 94 beneficiaries under the program.
The Orthopedic Department of BGH and BeGH, among other partner hospitals, provide the free treatment during their clinic days: Wednesdays and Thursdays for Baguio and every Monday in Benguet. The clinics record the patients through the MiracleFeet app.
PNGOC and MiracleFeet provide the casting materials, braces, shoes, and medicines for tenotomy, some logistic support for follow-ups like transportation for the staff and indigent patients, and trainings to residents and clinic staff.
Magalong said there is a need to emphasize clubfoot has a cure, as he encouraged parents and concerned health personnel to report such cases, since while reporting the same is mandatory as part of pre- and post-natal care, there might be those who are ashamed to divulge their children’s condition.
Every year, more than 3,500 babies are born with clubfoot in the country, but only 15 percent get treated due to lack of information and fear of medical costs, but more than 90 percent of these cases can be corrected if treated on time.
The program has been supporting 3,589 children all over the country since it started in 2018.
“But still there is a huge gap. The Covid-19 pandemic greatly affected the operation and many children had relapse since treatment is time-sensitive. During the lockdowns and surge of Covid cases, they could not go back from treatment,” Vallido said.
She said while support for clubfoot for treatment is provided for free, families of children with clubfoot are low-income and some children are born with other illnesses other than clubfoot.
She said they need partners in promoting the program to raise awareness about clubfoot treatment so that families will know there is hope for treatment for their children.
They also need supporters in policymaking since though clubfoot is included in the Z benefit package of PhilHealth, the provision is only for assistive devices such as wheelchairs; help in the health and nutrition of children who are poor and with clubfoot to support their development; and for continuous treatment since there is a big chance for relapse if patients do not or fail to adhere to scheduled treatments.
For queries about and how to support the program, contact PNGOC through Facebook page Philippine National Clubfoot Program. – Hanna C. Lacsamana