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Global Clubfoot Initiative to End Clubfoot Disability

Outline: CURE International and the Global Clubfoot Initiative launch strategy where every child born with clubfoot walks free from disability.

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Today on World Clubfoot Day, CURE International, along with its partners in the Global Clubfoot Initiative, launched a bold strategy with a vision of a world where every child born with clubfoot walks free from disability.

Ending Clubfoot Disability

A Global Strategy to 2030 has an ambition to ensure that by the year 2030 at least 70% of children born with clubfoot in lower and middle income countries can access treatment. Currently, less than 15% of children in these countries access treatment that would prevent a lifetime of disability.

Every year 174,000 children in the world are born with clubfoot, a birth defect in which one or both feet are turned in and downward. Clubfoot can be very effectively and inexpensively treated using the Ponseti method[1]; world-class athletes such as Mia Hamm and Kristi Yamaguchi went on to have extraordinary careers thanks to receiving effective treatment at a young age.

Infant with bilateral clubfoot. Image Credit: CURE International
Infant with bilateral clubfoot. Image Credit: CURE International

Despite this, over 4 in 5 children in lower and middle income countries face a lifetime severely affected by clubfoot, experiencing ongoing pain, limited mobility, and reduced opportunities in education, employment and relationships. This does not have to be the case.

This Global Clubfoot Strategy sets out a comprehensive approach, tackling the issue of clubfoot on a global scale through developing and supporting national clubfoot programs. With a total investment of $160 million it will be possible to treat over 1.2 million children, generating $154 billion in additional lifetime earnings and creating the capacity for each country to manage clubfoot on an ongoing basis by 2030.

By working towards 2030, the Global Clubfoot Strategy aligns with World Health Organisation Rehabilitation 2030 Call to Action, the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

Chris Lavy, Senior Advisor to CURE and Chair of Global Clubfoot Initiative and Professor of Orthopaedic and Tropical Surgery at Oxford University, said;

"We do not know how to prevent clubfoot but we do know how to treat it - and today it costs less than $400 a child. Every year many thousands of children are left with preventable disability as a result of clubfoot; currently there are over one million children living with untreated clubfoot and that number continues to grow. We have the solution and that is why we are launching this bold strategy with an ambition to end clubfoot disability. Based on the evidence and learning from a decade of experience, this blueprint involves working with local partners and Ministries of Health to develop and support national clubfoot programs in 105 lower and middle income countries over the next 14 years. We invite others to join us to make our vision a reality."

World Clubfoot Day, on June 3, commemorates the birthday of Ignacio Ponseti, the pioneer of the Ponseti technique for clubfoot. For more information:

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