A two-year, $302,400 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) to the Ponseti International Association at the University of Iowa will help advance the treatment of clubfoot worldwide.
The grant will support three-week fellowships at the UI for 20 leading physicians from developing countries. These Ponseti Fellows will then establish in their home countries Ponseti Centers that will deliver clubfoot training and treatment programs.
The most common musculoskeletal birth defect, clubfoot affects 200,000 infants each year worldwide. An estimated 1 million children under the age of 7 currently live with untreated clubfoot, a lifelong disability that often leads to isolation, limited access to education, and poverty.
The Ponseti Method for treatment of clubfoot was developed at the UI by the late Ignacio Ponseti. Low-cost, low-tech, and highly effective with a 95 percent success rate, the method uses a series of manipulations and castings over six to eight weeks; it is now considered by the medical community to be the treatment of choice for clubfoot. For the past 10 years, the Ponseti International Association at the UI has conducted workshops nationally and internationally to train health-care workers in the Ponseti Method, with the goal of creating sustainable clubfoot clinics and further spreading the use of the method using a train-the-trainer model.
"This project will train 20 physicians from 20 developing countries who will then be able to treat thousands of children with clubfoot every year," says Jose Morcuende, M.D., (photo, top) medical director of the Ponseti International Association at the UI. "Just as important, however, is that these health-care professionals also will serve as the core group, training others in the Ponseti Method so as to impact the lives of untold numbers of children and their families far into the future. We are extremely grateful to Ronald McDonald House Charities for their support of this initiative."
RHMC supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Through its global network of local chapters in 54 countries and regions, its three core programs -- the Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile -- and millions of dollars in grants to support children's programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. For more information, visit www.rmhc.org.