Clubfoot bonds two fathers in Ethiopia

For 5-year-old Ramandon, his clubfoot not only brought two fathers together, it also may have saved his life thanks to the tenacity of his father Mohammed who stopped at nothing to get answers.

“When I saw the child, I knew I had to find the solution,” said Mohammed. “I said ‘he needs treatment.’”

As soon as he was born, he knew Ramandon had clubfoot but had no idea that treatment was available because no one else in the village had the condition.

Soon Mohammed found the answers he was looking for after he saw a poster about clubfoot and took Ramandon to his first appointment at the Hope Walks’ partner clinic at Grarbet Hospital. While there, his son was not feeling well so the clinic’s physiotherapist recommended he be seen at a nearby hospital. That referral revealed a heart condition for young Ramandon and likely saved his life.

Without free treatment at the Hope Walks’ partner clinic, Mohammed and his wife would never have been able to afford the treatment, especially with the added costs of treating his son’s heart condition in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Mohammed and his son must wait early in the morning for transportation into the city, which is two hours from their home. He often went without his wife to minimize the transportation costs. While it was a challenge to get to Addis Ababa, they said the sacrifice was worth it.

Now with the clubfoot treatment and maintenance phases complete, and his son’s heart condition under control with medicine, Mohammed said he can’t contain his joy. This newfound happiness and knowledge have turned Mohammed into one of the best advocates for treating clubfoot. He gets clubfoot posters and shares them with hospitals in his area and has already referred 10 families to the program.

Shemese and his wife Fedele were one of the couples he referred from his village. Even though Mohammed and Shemese had an informal relationship, that bond grew stronger when Shemese’s son Jemel was born with unilateral clubfoot. They discussed clubfoot together and quickly became deeper friends, even traveling to the clinic together for appointments.

“Seeing that Mohammed’s son was easily treated took away my fears for my son,” said Shemese. “I was not afraid. I took action.”

Mohammed and Shemese are two great examples of fathers who work tirelessly to help their children realize a brighter future.

Bottom photo from left: Shemese, Jemel, Shemese’s wife Fedele, Ramandon and Mohammed

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