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11 May 2021, Edition - 2128, Tuesday

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India News

50,000 children are born with clubfoot in India, yet we are unaware

Indrani Thakurata

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The recent news of Young Tijil Rao has not only youngsters but has brought Clubfoot to centrestage, causing awareness about a disorder not many people know of. It is remarkable to know that that the 14-year-old will be debuting in the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Racing Championship 2018 in Coimbatore from June 22 to 24 despite his rare handicap that makes it even walking a challenge. It is important to note that in India, every 10 mins, a child is born with clubfoot and is often abandoned because of this.

Venkatesh, a 16 year old boy suffering from the same disorder didn’t see light in the end of the tunnel. Coming from an underprivileged background, his struggles were many, along with this handicap. The family has moved to Mysuru for a better life and job.

With an overall incidence of 1 in 1000 births, it is estimated that over 2,00,000 children are born with clubfoot worldwide. Over 50,000 children are born with clubfoot in India and over 3700 children are born with clubfoot in Maharashtra alone every year. Dr. Rujuta Mehta HOD Paediatric orthopedics BJ Wadia Hospital, explains, “Clubfoot is a congenital deformity (present at birth) of multi-factorial origin. The exact causative mechanism is still unknown and hence it cannot be prevented. Lack of awareness regarding the need for early intervention is one of the principal reasons for late presentation and neglect in our country.”

Neglected clubfoot can lead to a lifestyle of disability. Surgical treatments of clubfoot although possible and still widely practiced, is fraught with complications and problem. The Ponseti method is a breakthrough in the treatment of clubfoot and when performed correctly, can yield successful results in over 95 per cent cases of clubfoot treated at birth.

Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala CEO, Wadia Hospitals further adds, “Designated clubfoot clinic started in 2011 under the partnership between Bai Jerbai Wadia hospital for children, Mumbai and CURE International India Trust. In the last 7 years, 1102 children born with clubfoot enrolled for quality treatment in this clinic and would like cure more kids with such ailment in future”.

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