KIJABE, Kenya, May 1, 2008 – Hidden inside the four walls of her tiny home in Kenya, Jane Wanjiku knew little of the outside world. Concerned that the community would ridicule her twisted and deformed feet, her parents felt it would be best to keep Jane unnoticed at home. At just two-years old, Jane was already facing a long and lonely life, constantly hindered and judged because of her clubfeet. The hope of Jane’s family was restored when they learned of CURE International and its hospital in Kenya that could correct her feet. After doctors performed surgery on Jane, restoring the proper positions of her feet, her life and prospects for a future have been transformed. Jane no longer hides in her home, but instead spends as much time as possible playing outside with her dolls and other children.
In developing countries, over 200,000 children are born every year with clubfoot. While the numbers are smaller in the Western world, as infants born with clubfoot are treated early, this condition still exists. Few people realize that renowned U.S. athletes Kristi Yamaguchi, Troy Aikman and Mia Hamm were born with clubfoot. In the Third World, clubfoot remains a common, debilitating ailment that is often permanent as families cannot afford treatment.
CURE International, which provides First World health care in Third World countries, has launched a 10-year initiative to eradicate clubfoot. CURE Clubfoot Worldwide creates networks in countries throughout the developing world where treatment of clubfoot is unavailable. CURE raises awareness, trains national doctors in corrective casting procedures and treats children regardless of their ability to pay. To date, more than 2,200 children have been treated and CURE expects to have treated over 7,000 children with clubfoot by the end of 2008.
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