Jokebed in Burkina Faso
Nathalie and Elise come from two different ethnic groups in Burkina Faso. According to the local Burkinabe tradition, marriage is strictly forbidden between these two ethnic groups, and doing so could bring a curse on the family. But Nathalie and Elise ignored this tradition and got married anyway. When their daughter Jokebed was born with clubfoot, everyone jumped to the conclusion that it was due to their forbidden union.
Both parents were Christians, and even with the community’s rejection, they found a support system through their church pastor. They found a treatment option at a clinic not associated with Hope Walks. After several casts, there was no improvement. Neighbors told Nathalie to bathe Jokebed with traditional herbs and massage her feet with shea butter to treat them. Fortunately, they decided to go another route after hearing about the Hope Walks partner clinic at Schiphra Hospital.
Both parents were reluctant to start casting again because of the failure with the first casts at the other clinic. But they gave it a try and were both surprised by the effectiveness of the Ponseti method of casting. The clinic staff also gave them a warm welcome, showing the family their differences in ethnic backgrounds did not matter to them.
“When I came to Schiphra Hospital for the first time, it was to see if Jokebed’s feet could be treated,” Nathalie said. “After adhering to the treatment and seeing her feet corrected, I began to testify to the new patient’s families at the clinic and encourage all the other parents that have children born with clubfoot in the community to come and receive effective treatment.”
Nathalie and Elise were so excited about spreading the word about clubfoot treatment that they made 14 t-shirts with a clubfoot image and gave them to the Schiphra clubfoot team. Now that’s wearing clubfoot awareness with pride!
from left: Jokebed sits on her mom’s lap during a brace checkup. The shirt created by Jokebed’s parents as a sign of appreciation for the treatment she received. Jokebed with straight feet.