Content » Vol 48, Issue 5

Short communication

Problems encountered by parents of infants with clubfoot treated by the Ponseti method in Madagascar: A study to inform better practice

Harisoanirina Ramahenina, Rory J. O’Connor, M. Anne Chamberlain
Le Centre d’Appareillage de Madagascar, Antananarivo, Madagascar
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2082


Objective: Ponseti treatment for clubfoot is effective and inexpensive, improving children’s social participation. Two rehabilitation centres in Madagascar piloted Ponseti treatment; however, at one centre 46% of infants failed to complete treatment. The aim of this study was to determine the causes of defaulting in order to facilitate subsequent improvements nationwide when treatment is rolled out to all centres.
Methods: Questionnaire-based interviews.
Patients: Twenty mothers of infants younger than 1 year were interviewed after 3 months of treatment in relation to difficulties they experienced with continuing treatment.
Results: Fifteen families of these had financial problems: 7 incurred debt, 2 sold possessions, 4 parents stopped work an 2 did not give any further details. All mothers experienced distress; 9 hid their child’s foot, and 8 were accused of wrong-doing during pregnancy. Three families travelled more than 500 km to the treatment centre and journeys were costly and difficult. Ponseti splints were acceptable, but aftercare of the splints proved problematic.
Conclusion: Repeated travel to the clinic resulted in financial and social burden on the families, which reduced their ability to engage in treatment. The findings of this study are similar to work from other countries, but publications on rehabilitation from Madagascar are few. Improved support for parents, information, splinting with better materials and provision of treatment more locally are needed. Financial support for parents is key to enhancing children’s life chances.

Lay Abstract


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