Treating clubfoot…Shadrack’s story
By:David Erot and Benson Ewoi
In Turkana County, there are many boys and girls who are born with club foot conditions that affect their social life, access to education and health services. Club foot is a congenital deformity involving one foot or both; the affected foot appears to have been rotated internally at the ankle. Without treatment, people with club feet often appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet. However with treatment, most patients recover fully and are able to walk and participate in various activities including athletics.
Story in the beneficiaries’ own words:
Shadrack is 11 years old and lives with his parents at Naotin village in Turkana County. Shadrack has one sister and one brother. Shadrack was born with club foot condition which his family believed was inherited from his father who also has the same condition. Shadrack could not start school due to his condition. He could not walk the long distance from home to school and back.
Susan, Shadrack’s mother says: “I have three children and two are disabled just like their father. My parents and relatives used to blame me for getting married to a disabled man and they are not ready to support me whenever I look for their support. I was told by relatives that my husband’s grandfather killed a disabled person during the raid and therefore he was cursed and gave birth to disabled children whom in turn gave birth to my husband and now the same has happened to my children.”
“We migrated from Nadapal village due to stigmatization and discrimination by our neighbours. My children were not allowed to play with others, people feared to be my friends because I gave birth to disabled children. I now live with good and caring people here in Naotin. They are always ready to support me and my children can play freely with their children. I sometimes leave children under their care when am fetching water and firewood,” says Susan.
In February 2017 Shadrack was among 213 children with disabilities who were identified and assessed. Through the Diocese of Lodwar partnering with Save the Children and Ministry of Health, Shadrack was referred to Kijabe hospital for surgical treatment. Save the Children with funding from Christian Blind Mission (CBM) supported transport and accommodation of Shadrack and fifteen other children.
Lyone, Shadrack’s brother also had the same condition before Save the Children with funding from CBM supported him to undergo a successful operation
“Thanks to Save the Children, I have realized that my children condition is not caused by a curse but it is medical,” says Susan
Shadrack operation was successful and he was put under rehabilitation at St. John Paul 11 home for children with physical impairment where he also got an opportunity to access education. Currently Shadrack is able to walk using crutches and cast boots. When these are removed later in the year he will walk independently.
Save the children with funding from CBM is supporting the County teams in Turkana to conduct community based rehabilitation outreaches under the disability mainstreaming project. The main objective of the project is to increase access of children with disabilities in Turkana County to interventions by government and non- governmental organizations that address their persistent exclusion from education, health, and social services.
This project helps to facilitate physical rehabilitation and specialized treatment for children with disabilities. For the last 3 months 16 children with limb deformities, contracture of the knee and clubfoot have been supported and undergone surgical treatment.