The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Global Clubfoot Conference being organised by the CURE India in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, in New Delhi today (November 1, 2017).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that clubfoot is one of the most common orthopaedic birth defects. It can cause permanent disability if not treated early. This affects the child’s mobility and confidence. Inevitably, education and schooling suffer – and the child cannot fulfil his or her potential.
The President said that in India the burden of disability affects more than 10 million people. The differently-abled or Divyang as we call them deserve equal opportunities in all the avenues of life. Mainstreaming their social and professional experience is a commitment for all of us. Having said that, many of these disabilities are preventable or curable – which is often forgotten. Prevention, treatment and mainstreaming have to go in parallel.
The President said India is proud to have eradicated new cases of poliomyelitis. Polio was
once a serious cause of loco-motor disability, but over the past six years we have not had a single case of paralytic poliomyelitis. This has been a major milestone in the history of public health not only in India but globally. It must motivate us to work towards eliminating other disabilities and other diseases and take on the challenge of clubfoot.
The President said he was happy to note that public hospitals are partnering with CURE International India to reach out to as many children as possible. The programme is now active in 29 states of India. He stated that despite these successes, we cannot ignore that at the current rate only 8,000 fresh cases are brought into the ambit of treatment every year. This is a small number if one considers the 50,000 children who are born annually in India with clubfoot. In 2022, India completes 75 years of its Independence. It should be a national resolve that by then every child born with clubfoot gets access to treatment services as soon as the condition is diagnosed.”
By 2022 every child born with a clubfoot deformity will have access to free treatment through the private-public partnership between CURE India and the health ministry. This commitment was announced by the President Shri. Ram Nath Kovind, while inaugurating the First Global Clubfoot Conference held at Vigyan Bhavan on Nov 1st (Wednesday). This goal will be achieved by the joint efforts of CURE India and the National Health Mission. The President also said that the burden of disability affects more than 10 million people. “The differently-abled deserve equal opportunities in all avenues of life. Mainstreaming their social and professional experience is a commitment for all of us. These disabilities are preventable or curable-which is often forgotten. Prevention, treatment and mainstreaming have to go in parallel.” Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi, in his message to the organizers, appreciated the efforts of CURE India in reaching out to children to eradicate disability caused by clubfoot in the past eight years. “Its effective partnership with the states and the public hospitals in building the network of clubfoot clinics has helped to raise awareness about this issue.” Minister of State for Health, Shri. Ashwini Kumar Choubey who also spoke assured his ministry’s complete support to eradicate disability.
Rotarian Pradeep Bahri recalled how fellow Rotarian Amarnath Goyal during a visit to St. Stephen’s Hospital several years ago was deeply moved while watching Dr. Mathew Varghese attending a polio affected child. He decided that Rotary clubs must become valuable partners in the task.
Four hundred and fifty doctors, 200 CURE counsellors, health and social workers across India, and RBSK representatives from different states participated in the Conference. Additionally, experts and delegates from 20 countries including USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and several African countries were also participating in the conference.
Every year in India more than 30 million women will become pregnant, and approximately one out of every 800 will give birth to a child with clubfoot. Having a child born with clubfoot brings stigma, discrimination, and lack of opportunities. Unfortunately, many do not know that treatment is available and accessible for their children. Within India, many believe their child was born with polio and cannot receive treatment. This is no longer the case. Treatment is now readily available through CURE India’s network of clinics.
Global Clubfoot Conference Glimpses
CURE facilities in all 29 states of India offer free treatment for clubfoot. The National
Clubfoot Helpline numbers are :
– 88000 20501
– 1800 11 0408