CARRBORO, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Five years ago, Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld opened the doors of miraclefeet, a non-profit working to eradicate clubfoot in the developing world. What began with one clinic and a handful of children in treatment has now grown into a worldwide organization that has transformed the lives of 10,000 children in 13 countries.
Miraclefeet and its local partners change the trajectories of children’s lives forever by providing a simple and effective treatment for children born with clubfoot in developing countries. Each year, nearly 200,000 children are born with clubfoot – 80 percent of whom live in developing countries without easy access to care. Without medical intervention, these children aren’t given a fair shot at life. They can’t run or play, they likely cannot attend school, and they are often neglected and abused. All this suffering is completely and easily preventable. Using the non-surgical Ponseti Method, clubfoot can be easily treated for about $250 a child, making it ideal for low-resource settings.
“The idea that such a small investment intervention can have such a huge impact on the life of a child is staggering,” said Chesca. “There is no reason any child should have to live with untreated clubfoot when it’s so fixable.”
In 2010, miraclefeet launched its first ever partnership with Hospital Universitario da Universidade de São Paulo (HU-USP), led by Dr. Laura Ferreira, one of the first Ponseti-trained practitioners and the first female orthopedic surgeon in Brazil.
Among the first patients was two year old Yasmin. Her parents moved from their farm as tenement farmers to Sao Paulo in order to get free treatment for Yasmin. Often times, the whole family would accompany Yasmin to appointments because they could get food at the hospital for free, and that was often the only meal they had that day.
Today, Yasmin is a healthy six year old who only needs to come in for twice yearly check-ups. Her family moved back to their farm, and Yasmin is excited to be able to attend school for the first time. The hospital clinic has fully embraced the Ponseti method and is now self-sufficient under Dr. Laura’s leadership.
Miraclefeet has also been instrumental in getting other governments to embrace the Ponseti method. Botswana has promised to make Ponseti treatment part of their universal health care in the next five years, India has added clubfoot to the newborn screening exam so children can be referred to clinics immediately, and Tanzania is creating a national network of clinics so children can get to a clinic no matter where they live.
Miraclefeet has also embraced new technology to help ensure quality treatment. They’ve helped implement the largest international clubfoot database in the world; have created an innovative, low-cost brace; and have developed a text-messaging system to connect parents with counselors to decrease relapse and treatment drop-out rates.
Although the organization has made great strides, Colloredo-Mansfeld says there is still much work to be done. By 2018, miraclefeet plans to have 10,000 new children enrolled in treatment every year. “We believe all children, no matter where in the world they are born, deserve access to clubfoot treatment. Until that happens, our work is not done.”
For more information or to support miraclefeet, please visit www.miraclefeet.org.
Clubfoot is a leading birth defect causing poverty and abuse in developing countries, though it’s virtually unrecognized in the U.S. due to high treatment rates. Miraclefeet is a non-profit dedicated to providing proper treatment for children born with clubfoot in developing countries. It partners with local orthopedic surgeons working in public hospitals to establish and support clubfoot clinics. This is the most effective, efficient and sustainable approach to prevent the significant disability caused by clubfoot. A child born with clubfoot in a developing county can be fully treated for about $250 per child, transforming his or her life forever. To learn more, please visit www.miraclefeet.org.