When Lorpu was born with bilateral clubfoot, her grandmother thought it was caused by witchcraft. Lorpu’s mom, Hawa, felt terrible and didn’t know what to do. After discussing the issue with Lorpu’s father, they both decided that it was best to get medical advice and find out what could be done to help their child. They spoke with a midwife at the maternity ward and she referred them to Phebe Hospital. Friends warned the parents about going to the hospital since the Ebola epidemic was hitting Liberia during this time. Since the clubfoot clinic remained open, Hawa decided to take Lorpu for treatment. She is now in the bracing phase and her feet are completely straight!
Hawa is filled with pride as her precocious daughter recites the alphabet for the other parents in the waiting room. Lorpu loves to “read” and practice writing at home, and thanks to a scholarship provided through the Liberia Clubfoot Program and MiracleFeet, she will have the opportunity to receive an education.
Syrus was born with unilateral clubfoot and his mom Yassah worried that other children would tease him as he grew up. Fortunately, Syrus’s grandfather had heard about clubfoot and knew that treatment was available in the clinic at Phebe Hospital. At one month of age, Syrus enrolled in treatment.
Now Yasseh laughs as she recounts how Syrus is learning to walk and running all over their home. Her despair turned to joy and hope for Syrus’s future. Her message to other parents is that treatment is available and they can help their children. “Don’t give up or let anyone discourage you,” she said.
Martha’s daughter Antoinette was three months old when a friend noticed that the child’s feet were not straight. Martha knew nothing about clubfoot and didn’t know what to do, but luckily her friend stepped in to help her. They learned about Phebe Hospital’s clubfoot clinic and Martha described the relief of seeing other clubfoot moms for the first time. “I saw the other mothers and I got the hope that it would be fine,” she said. “Now I want her to go to school and learn.”
Praises’s mom Tina gave birth to the child, her third little girl, on the road to the maternity clinic with help from community members! Shortly after Praises was born, Tina noticed her daughter’s feet were pointed down and her legs were bowed. She took Praises to the clubfoot clinic at Phebe Hospital where the child was able to be treated successfully. She hopes for great things from her daughter in the future. “She will become someone who can help our generation,” Tina said proudly.
When Grace was born with clubfoot, her mother Georgina worried that the baby would never walk or move. She was so upset that she kept the child’s clubfoot to herself. Fortunately, Grace was able to find treatment at FACORC in the capital city of Monrovia. Now six months old, Grace is fully treated and wearing her brace.
Victor’s mother Josephine is so happy now that her son is in the bracing phase of treatment, but it wasn’t always this way. She was physically ill with worry for son and would cry all the time. She searched for treatment for seven months. When she discovered that Victor could be treated at FACORC in Monrovia, she felt a huge sense of relief.
The proud mother described life with her son at home. “He gets into trouble, messing with my water bucket,” she said. “He started walking two weeks ago for the first time.”
Marie’s mother learned that her child could receive treatment at FACORC from a friend who had also given birth to a baby with clubfoot. Marie began treatment at one month old, had three casts, and is now in the bracing phase.
Wonder was treated incorrectly twice before his mother found treatment at FACORC in Monrovia. A neighbor who knew one of the clinic nurses was able to direct the family to treatment. Wonder’s feet were covered in sores from incorrectly applied casts, so this news came just in time! Wonder was enrolled in treatment, which prevented any further injury of his feet. Now the energetic little boy is in the bracing phase of treatment and almost ready to walk.
Thanks to the dedication of the clubfoot clinicians in Buchanan, Anthony was able to receive treatment during the Ebola crisis of 2014. Nurses from the clubfoot clinic came to his home to apply the casts, as the hospital outpatient department had been closed and the hospital was being used to monitor suspected Ebola cases. Now four years old, Anthony wears his brace at night and enjoys playing football with his friends.
You can read more stories from Liberia here.
Learn what New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof had to say about his visit to MiracleFeet-sponsored clinics in Liberia here.