BigShoe has conducted corrective surgeries for 11 children born with the cleft foot anomaly in Lunsar, Sierra Leone.
Development Diaries understands that BigShoe is a worldwide growing network of football and sports fans helping needy children with life-changing medical operations.
The nonprofit, in partnership with Chelsea and Germany defender, Antonio Rüdiger, also delivered jerseys from his club to the children in order to take away their fear of the medical procedures.
Rüdiger, whose mother was born in Sierra Leone, refers to the country as his ‘second home’.
‘To motivate the children for the future and to take away their fear of the procedures, Rüdiger also donated jerseys from his club…’, BigShoe said in a Facebook post.
Cleft foot, also known as club foot, is a rare congenital anomaly in which the foot does not develop properly during fetal development.
‘This causes the affected foot to have missing toes, a V-shaped cleft, and other anatomical differences’, the Boston Children’s Hospital said about cleft foot.
It is understood that surgery’s first goal is to improve the foot’s function; while the second goal is to improve the foot’s shape and appearance.
Children with cleft feet are unable to walk the long distances to school, meaning these children often lose access to primary education.
In Sierra Leone, an estimated 273 children are born with cleft feet every year, according to Miracle Feet.
Data from Handicap International (HI) shows that in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where early detection and access to appropriate treatment is poor, cleft foot is one of the main causes of mobility impairment.
A study, titled, Measuring global surgery, obstetrics and anaesthesia – from health systems to patients, also put the average treatment cost, using the Ponseti method, at U.S.$167.
‘Thanks so much to BigShoe…’, Rüdiger said in a Facebook post.
‘This is what really matters in life to see them smiling again. Together we made it possible to give 11 kids a better life again – may God protect and bless them all’.
The Sierra Leone National Clubfoot Programme (SLNCP) was set up to eliminate life-time disability in children from club foot through providing treatment free of charge to all children under two years of age.
However, additional data from Miracle Feet shows that misconceptions about the disability, lack of training facilities, and a lack of awareness of treatment availability have also contributed to many untreated cases in the west African country.
Photo source: Antonio Rüdiger