MEDICAL STAFF TRAINED TO TREAT CLUBFOOT DEFORMITIES

Physiotherapist and Medical Officers from around Fiji are undergoing a formal Ponseti Clubfoot Course to upgrade their knowledge on providing treatment of abnormal foot for babies.

Clubfoot deformity is a condition where the foot is bent inwards and this is treated by serial casting the foot for about six to eight weeks to correct the deformity. This method is called Ponseti Cast Treatment.

A team of medical professionals from the Australian Orthopaedic Association are in Fiji to teach the participants on the early management of clubfoot.

Team Leader A/Professor Mr Peter Cundy revealed that babies born with this deformity need prompt treatment in the first few weeks of life to prevent lifelong disability.

“Ponseti cast treatment has been shown to be better than surgery and is safer, cheaper and better for lifelong improved outcome for children born with clubfeet. Not only the disability is reduced, they become contributors to the community and are employable,” Mr Cundy said.

He further said that it is essential that the method is taught and practiced with some precision, skill and care – hence the importance of such courses.

Course facilitator Dr Pauliasi Bouleka revealed that the course is very beneficial to the participants as they get the firsthand knowledge which will assist them in the treatment of such cases.

“In Fiji, around 5 in every 1000 babies have a clubfoot with an estimated 200 new feet per year requiring treatment therefore it is absolutely necessary to have trained medical staff to provide such immediate treatment,” Dr Bouleka said.

Participant Monica Nand, physiotherapist from Savusavu hospital described the course as very beneficial in terms of upskilling healthcare providers.

“I am really enjoying this workshop because whatever experience I’ve got has been passed on from other physios and this is the first time I am attending this workshop and whatever knowledge I get, I will be able to use it while attending to cases back at my workstation.”