Initially planned as a transport and care package initiative, STEPS has decided to expand the campaign to provide PPE for front line staff working at some of the 36 state clubfoot clinics that are short of stock, and taking daily risks to support patients. The PPE will also be used for caregivers attending the clinics to minimise risk of infection.
Travel to the clinics is expensive and the cost of the initial regular weekly treatments impacts on the family income. Patients must be at the clinic at least 20 times for successful treatment. Treatment can fail if parents do not attend the clinics regularly, resulting in disability. The launch of the Steps Uthutho Fund is life-changing and will assist these families enormously.
The Western Cape has been selected as the launch site of the STEPS Uthutho Fund as STEPS head office is in Cape Town, specifically Tygerberg Hospital’s clubfoot clinic, and it will be rolled out to other provinces. PPE will be distributed nationally from the start.
Each year STEPS Charity joins in the international celebrations of World Clubfoot Day to maintain awareness of clubfoot, that it is a treatable birth defect, and to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Ignacio Ponseti on 3rd June.
Dr. Ponseti was the originator of the groundbreaking, gentle, and non-invasive treatment of clubfoot, the Ponseti Method, now the globally accepted gold standard treatment for babies born with clubfoot.
Approximately 11,000 babies are born with clubfoot in Southern Africa annually, the second-highest rate of clubfoot in the world. Clubfoot can be treated at state health clinics using the Ponseti method, with a success rate of over 90%.
Founded in 2005, STEPS Charity is the only South African non-profit working to support babies born with clubfoot. ‘STEPS Clubfoot Care’ is an award-winning programme that supports the national network of clubfoot clinics.
This year, in a world living in lockdown and in the midst of the dramatic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, babies are still being born with clubfoot and their treatment and support continues. Mindful of this, celebrating World Clubfoot Day in 2020 is also celebrating the front line workers, the dedicated Steps staff and the loving caregivers who still manage to get their children to clinics treatment, in very challenging times.
Letshego Zulu, biokineticist, mother and founder of PopUpGym, a successful health and fitness business, has come on board to assist in spreading the news about this exciting initiative.
She is dedicated to helping to promote the Steps Uthutho Fund, helping families who travel far distances to reach the clinics that provide the Ponseti Method of treatment.
Letshego says, “As a Mom to a toddler, I have grown fond of supporting initiatives that focus on ECD, like Steps Uthutho Fund. Everytime I hear of other children undergoing any kind of struggle, it really tugs at my heart. I have made a personal pledge to lend my voice to spread the word about Steps because many people are unaware of the struggles that children with clubfoot experience. It is an honour and privilege to be part of this initiative.”
Karen Moss, founder and director of STEPS, has welcomed Letshego’s involvement and support of Steps Uthutho Fund. “Letshego is a role model to many people. Having experienced personal tragedy losing her beloved husband during their summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for female hygiene products, her strength in using her grief so courageously to power her success, makes her the ideal partner for STEPS. We are delighted, and grateful to have the benefit of her skills to highlight this innovative project.” said Karen.