For Children Born with Clubfeet, Life Painful in Pakistan

KARACHI: Between 6,000 and 7,000 children in Pakistan are born with clubfoot every year but hardly five to 10 percent receive adequate treatment.

Clubfoot is a congenital or a birth defect in which one foot or both feet of a newly born child are rotated inwards from the ankle. It is a painful condition that makes movement of the foot very painful. It can be cured completely and that too without surgery, if the child receives treatment early.

These views were expressed by renowned orthopaedists and clubfoot experts at the inaugural ceremony of a four-day biennial conference titled “3rd Biennial Paeds Orthopaedicon 2016” on paediatric orthopaedic deformities held at the Najamuddin Auditorium of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) on Thursday.

More than 250, 000 children across the world have this type of disability. However, most of the cases are reported from developing countries and most of the children live a miserable life due to lack of treatment facilities and knowledge about treatment of a curable and reversible condition.

More than 100 children with club deformities from different areas of Karachi, and several districts of Sindh and Balochistan, also attended the conference. They were examined by the orthopaedic surgeons and experts from the United States, India and United Arab Emirates and the doctors issued valuables suggestions to their physicians and surgeons about the proper treatment of club deformity.

According to Executive Director JPMC and focal person for the Ponseti International Pakistan, Prof  Dr Anisuddin Bhatti, out of the 7,000 patients born with clubfoot in Pakistan, hardly five to ten percent receive timely treatment while the others bear with stiff and painful feet for the rest of their lives.

Prof Bhatti maintained that the Ponseti method of treating infants was non-surgical, effective and cheap besides having a 95 percent success rate, than any other program practiced in the world.

Presently, he said, there were 24 clubfeet treatment centres in Pakistan and included the Jinnah, Indus, Abbasi Shaheed and Civil hospitals in Karachi, Civil Hospital Hyderabad and Children’s Hospital Lahore.

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