ASHA workers receive continuous training from the government, which enables them to recognise a host of health issues. Evidently, ASHA workers play a very important role not only in ensuring that people get the treatment the need as early as possible, but also in changing the rural mindset when it comes to health, hygiene and child-rearing. It was one such worker who came to our clinic in April. Khadija Khatoon walked in with her 9 month old daughter
Harifa, and produced an OPD slip, on which her doctor had prescribed the FAB, and instructed her to wear it 23 hours a day. Harifa was an idiopathic child, and only her left foot was affected. She was very happy because her daughter had been receiving casts for more than two months, and it was finally time to start wearing the shoes. When it was time to score the foot, I noticed that the curved lateral border was still present and the equinus was still rigid, which would make wearing the brace problematic, to say the least. I showed the child to our clinic doctor, and while he agreed that the foot was not corrected, he felt that the situation was slightly delicate, as the doctor who did the plastering was a senior from another unit. We had two options: either send her back to her doctor, and risk prolonging the treatment without having much improvement, or continue her treatment with the doctors in our clinic. The doctors needed some convincing, but they eventually agreed that whatever was best for the child had to be given priority and treatment would start in our clinic. After getting the cast removed every week, Harifa would come in and play with the FABs on the table. The child had a total of 6 casts in the clinic. In the 7th week, she waited patiently while we put on the brace, she was very happy, and wouldn’t let anyone else touch it.

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