THIS December 3rd, as we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, clubfoot charity MiracleFeet is launching a ‘Miracle First Steps’ campaign that echoes the theme of this significant global day.
This campaign is not just a celebration of the pivotal moment when babies take their first steps, but a poignant reminder of the obstacles children with untreated clubfoot face. Fewer than 1 in 5 babies born with clubfoot in low-resource countries have access to treatment and therefore may never experience this milestone.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities not only pays tribute to the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities but also underscores their ongoing struggle for equality. This aligns with MiracleFeet’s mission to eliminate untreated clubfoot globally and highlights the life-changing nature of the treatment.
The significance of a child’s first steps is a cherished and pivotal moment in development. However, for a baby with clubfoot, this milestone carries distinctive weight. Unlike counterparts without the condition, babies with untreated clubfoot may struggle to walk or experience pain when walking due to one or both feet turning inward and upward.
The First Steps campaign recognises the disparities faced by those with clubfoot in low- and middle-income countries compared to their counterparts in developed nations, such as the UK, where clubfoot is routinely addressed shortly after birth. It also highlights the need to expand treatment availability — the foremost challenge in ensuring all children have the care they deserve.
As many as 8 million people globally live with untreated clubfoot, however, 95% of cases can be treated successfully using the Ponseti Method. This high-quality, low-cost treatment method involves a series of casts to gently manipulate the feet followed by a brace worn primarily at night to prevent relapse. The simplicity of this non-invasive treatment is ideal for low-resource settings. Part of MiracleFeet’s work also includes increasing the number of skilled health workers trained in the Ponseti Method. By expanding sustainable access to treatment, more children can take those momentous first steps.
Witnessing a child born with clubfoot take their first steps after undergoing treatment is a testament to the power of this transformative treatment, and to the potential for a life unhampered by pain and stigma. MiracleFeet makes it possible for children to not only take their first steps, but go on to live active, healthy, and independent lives.
As part of the campaign, UK celebrities and influencers, as well as members of the clubfoot community, will take to social media to share a photo of their child (or themselves) taking their first or early steps, along with key information about clubfoot and how to support MiracleFeet. The general public is also invited to participate by sharing a photo or video of their first steps.
‘Miracle First Steps’ is more than a campaign; it’s a call to action. As we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let’s take collective steps toward a world where every child, regardless of their circumstances, can take those miraculous first steps and set out on a journey filled with possibilities.
To learn more about MiracleFeet’s transformative work, please visit: https://www.miraclefeet.org.