Rwanda Surgical Mission Blog Post #1: by Paula Enrietto
It is a great pleasure to begin the blog of our mission in Rwanda by introducing you to Centura Global Health Initiatives (CGHI), www.centuraglobalhealth.org, and the work that our team will be performing in Rwanda beginning on July 22, 2012. Centura Global Health Initiatives (CGHI) offers short term medical mission trips that provide no-cost surgical, medical and community health programs, education, training and relief in areas where health care is often limited or difficult to obtain. This blog will follow the work of Dr. Peter Janes, the lead Orthopaedic surgeon for this mission, as he and Ms Paula Enrietto, Medical Assistant, help to train Rwandan physicians and physical therapists in the treatment of club foot deformity for the children of Rwanda.
Clubfoot is a birth defect that occurs in about one in every l,000 births. The foot turns inward and points downward, and it often appears the patient is walking on his or her ankle. Babies in the United States with clubfoot are normally treated soon after birth when the tendons and ligaments are still very flexible using the Ponseti method, developed by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti of the University of Iowa. This technique involves manipulation of the foot by stretching, serial casting, and/or use of braces. Club foot can often be corrected within two to six months of treatment. The key to this method’s success is that it starts in infancy and subsequent bracing is vital to maintain the correction gained by casting.
Unfortunately for many children in Rwanda, this method is not always available following birth, and treatment then requires more difficult surgical procedures. However, there are only six Orthopaedic surgeons for the entire country of approximately 10 million people. And—there are limited training programs that support the Ponseti method. The result is that some children with club foot are left untreated and have physical limitations for life.
CGHI has made a commitment to help children with clubfoot in Rwanda. Using the proceeds of a grant for $57,000 made by Catholic Health Initiatives, Dr. Janes will assist in the important task of training physicians and physical therapists to treat club foot soon after birth. Dr. Janes will lead a team for CGHI and provide training in the Ponseti method for 25 Rwandan physicians and physical therapists at the Sainte Marie Orthopaedic Children’s Hospital at Rilima.
Join us over the next few weeks as we follow the work of our team in this important work at Rilima, and other projects at Mugonero and the CHUK. Learn more about the children of Rwanda and the efforts of CGHI to improve their lives in many important ways.