COVID & Clubfoot – Stories from the Frontlines
Damaris, a physiotherapist at Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia has never seen the clinic so slow and is looking forward to things getting back to normal. The Zambian government has not told the clinic it needs to close, but the social distancing requirements it has put in place have drastically reduced the number of patients coming to the clubfoot clinic.
She is the clinic coordinator and has been providing Ponseti treatment to babies for the last 4 years.
Parents are nervous about their child’s treatment, Damaris said. She advises safety first but finds it hard to convince some parents that they should wait to start casting until COVID is under control. Most parents are afraid their child will get worse, their feet may not be corrected, or that they won’t be able to afford transportation when the time comes. Damaris and the parent advisor at the clinic work together to educate the families and calm their fears.
COVID-19 is even hindering the normal efforts to raise awareness about clubfoot. These typically take place in public spaces. Now, she is relying on social media when she can to let people know about clubfoot and that it is completely treatable.