Mumbai: The Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital For Children, Parel, Mumbai started India’s first Brace Bank “W-riddhi”, and is now encouraging parents and doctors to donate used clubfoot braces to the Brace Bank, where they are refurbished and supplied to needy families at a very low cost of Rs 1,500 per child every month under the “Each one treat one scheme”.
Clubfoot is the most common musculoskeletal birth deformity affecting about 1 in 800 children. Untreated clubfoot is an important cause of long-term physical and emotional disability in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) due to lack of accessibility to quality healthcare and systemic inequities. 80% of clubfoot children are born in LMICs and it is estimated that over 200,000 children are born with clubfoot each year and approximately 35,000 in India alone. Wadia Hospital partnered with CURE Clubfoot Worldwide in 2011, a US-based NGO to establish a dedicated Clubfoot Clinic in the hospital premises to provide a protocol-based clubfoot treatment by training doctors in the Ponseti method, providing free clubfoot braces, establishing a prospective clubfoot registry, and setting a 24×7 dedicated clubfoot helpline for parent support. Now, it is taken a step ahead and established India’s first Brace Bank W-riddhi meaning progress.
Dr Rujuta Mehta HOD, Dept. Paediatric Orthopaedics, Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children, said, “Rather than depending on NGOs for support, we are now encouraging parents and doctors to donate used clubfoot braces to the Brace Bank, where they are refurbished and supplied to needy families at a very low cost under the “Each one treat one scheme”. Our vast database of over 1500 patients is uploaded in-house by Wadia staff on a special online portal of the International Clubfoot Registry (ICR), hosted by the University of Iowa, USA. We are collaborating with international universities (University of Toronto and University of Oxford) for various research projects related to developing outcome tools and treatment guidelines for late presenting clubfoot.”
Dr Mehta added, “None of this would have been possible without the unstinted support and encouragement of Wadia Hospitals CEO, Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala, the trustees and Administration of Wadia Hospitals. She has been the beacon of inspiration and a leading light in the creation of a self-sustaining unit which has become a path breaker over the past 10 years.”
“Over the past 10 years, we have treated over 1500 children with clubfeet, making it one of the largest clubfoot treatment centers in India. Besides idiopathic clubfeet, we have developed special expertise in treating syndromic clubfeet, atypical clubfeet, and children who present with untreated clubfoot after the walking age. The aim is to provide uninterrupted treatment with the introduction of clubfoot braces at an affordable cost,” concluded Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of Wadia Hospital.